Sorrow, pain and fear are an unavoidable part of life, however, even amidst the toughest of times, God promises to surround those who follow Him with steadfast love and the peace of His Presence. Whether we are either the CAUSE or the VICTIM of our pain, sorrow or fear—the key to our peace is the same: Closeness to God. King David’s personal description of God’s help during trouble was: “You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” (Psa. 32:7) He became close enough to God to hear Him reply: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (vs.8) However, David didn’t come to God’s peaceful oasis in trouble without stripping away the things which separated him from God. He said: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (vs. 5) David had lived on both sides—in repentance and CLOSE to God; and–in sin and FAR from God. He had the personal experience to say: “Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psa. 32:10-11) Day after day I counsel people in my office who are going through trouble and I give them the same simple advice God gives me: Place aside your own will, turn from sin, and seek Him! Because He is righteous, we do NOT find God on OUR terms. He isn’t a safety blanket which we drag along beside us—He is a roaring lion Who leads the way! His blessed Presence will NOT be found outside of His Holy nature. When we’ve been in His Presence, we also find that there is no plan outside of His will or any sin which we hang onto which is worth the price of His Presence. When we’ve been IN His Presence—there is no doubt when we’re no longer there! His Presence is so magnificent that not even the greatest trouble or tragedy can take Him from us! Possessing His Presence is OUR choice. He does not force us to love Him. There is no greater love than His!