The past few weeks have undoubtedly been a bit daunting for some of us, and anxiety inducing for others. Just a few weeks ago we were concerned about the coronavirus. Now the threat of this virus has upended our daily lives. Companies are forced to figure out work from home solutions where they can, and let people go where they must. Stores are completely out of necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, and bottled water. Kids are home from school and parents are trying to figure out how to work while also taking care of their kids AND not go crazy in the process. In the middle of all of this Psalm 46 has pressed more into my heart than ever before, and I thought it would be good to take some time to work through that in the hope that it provides myself and others some much needed encouragement and stability. This is part one of a three part series.
Psalm 46:1-3 ESV
1God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
There are few sounds for me that are as relaxing as the sound of the ocean. Maybe because I’m in Dallas and nowhere near the ocean, and even further away from a beach of any real quality, but nothing puts me into a state of peace and tranquility like hearing the waves crash gently against the shore. Seeing the wave that stands taller than me somehow collapse down to my ankle is just reassuring somehow. But there was one time I was in Galveston and in the span of a day it went from calm waves to a tropical storm. Having never been in a tropical storm, I was a bit anxious about what would happen and whether I’d be able to get off the island. The calm sounds that soothed my soul now roared making their presence known even in my sleep. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I were a sailor or a fisherman and knew that my job or livelihood required me to be out on the waves when they had become so treacherous.
Have you ever seen a mountain? In person? Up close? Again, living in Dallas I’ve seen very few. What strikes me about them is how awe inspiring they are. They reach up to the skies in all their beauty and stand fast rooted into the earth. Nothing moves the mountain. You can blast a whole through it if you want, but you can’t move it. You can’t obliterate it. It stands fast. Immovable. Unshakable.
These are the very images the Psalmist brings to mind. The treacherous sea. The immovable mountain being moved. The things that gave us peace and inspired awe and caused us to worship God seem to turn on us. The very earth beneath our feet disappearing sending us into a tailspin of fear, doubt, and insecurity. When the mountain is moved and we cannot hide, God is our refuge. When the earth is pulled out from under us, God is our strength. When all of our natural comforts and security blankets seem to get ripped away, God is our help in times of trouble! And not just “help,” no. He is our “very present” help. He is with us right now in the middle of this pandemic and every other storm we have ever faced or ever will face.
If we are in Christ then we can know that when fear and doubt and insecurity strike we can look expectantly to God with full confidence that God alone will sustain us and be with us. In this life and the next.
Grace and peace.