“God is our refuge and strength, a present help in times of trouble.” So goes this paraphrase from Psalm 46:1. If you are like me, you have no trouble believing that God is there for you when tragedy strikes or when times are particularly difficult.  My problem is more likely the fact that in the everyday kinds of trouble, the moment of frustration on the freeway or when things are not going exactly according to my plans, I can get out of sorts becoming snarky, angry, or bitter. These are the times that I feel like I don’t need God to help me. I just need this goofball who is messing up my day to get out of the way or stop “being so annoying!”

When I was a kid, it seems like every year they would bring a fire truck and firefighters to school and teach us what to do if our clothes ever caught on fire. You can probably say it with me: “Stop, Drop, and Roll!” They taught us this little lesson over and over. We all knew it, but I have never met anyone in all of my 5-plus decades of living who ever had to put this little technique into practice. Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying this teaching was useless. I am an advocate of teaching such things to kids. If the technique is ever needed, I think it is a great idea to have everyone know it.

Now back to Psalm 46:1. I see a connection between “Stop, Drop, and Roll” and this familiar truth from God’s Word. God is our present help in times of trouble. But sometimes we find ourselves with our souls on fire from spontaneously combusting over a common temptation, and we try to run around like proverbial fireball chickens without heads (sometimes I love mixing metaphors) instead of turning to God for help putting out the flames. Spiritually speaking, we need to Stop what we are doing, Drop to our knees (figuratively and perhaps physically) in prayer, and Roll away from temptation by God’s power and grace. That’s the kind of “stop, drop, and roll” we all need fairly often, unless you are much, much better than me.

Jack Williamson
Author: Jack Williamson