With a third wave of the pandemic, and lockdown starting again, we’ll take a few days to remember God’s presence with us in all this frustration, fear and anger.
Psalm 46 (NLT)
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
4 A river brings joy to the city of our God,
the sacred home of the Most High.
5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.
From the very break of day, God will protect it.
6 The nations are in chaos,
and their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders,
and the earth melts!
7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.
Come, see the glorious works of the Lord:
See how he brings destruction upon the world.
9 He causes wars to end throughout the earth.
He breaks the bow and snaps the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”
11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.
Sometimes things just seem overwhelming. The Covid – 19 crisis has certainly got us all on edge. And now we are entering the third wave and told to stay home once again. It’s been over a year. Is this ever going to stop? Hopefully as vaccinations increase, things will calm down, but it’s so hard to be patient. I miss being with family so much. I miss the “normal” church services and activities.
During upsetting times, Psalm 46 is a good one to read. We need to know that our God is in control and that we can get help from Him. I love the first verse in this psalm: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” That is a fact, and that is true. But, how do we experience that strength? Personally, I think verse 10 contains the answer. “Be still, and know that I am God!” There are times when we need to literally stop right where we are standing, and say out loud, “God, I know You are there, and You are willing to help me, so I’m taking a deep breath and waiting on You”.
I have that verse on a wall hanging in my bedroom. It used to hang in the entranceway of the home where I raised my kids. Both those locations are ones that I needed to have that verse located. I needed to know as I came in my front door with arms loaded with stuff and kids whirling about my feet that I was coming home to a place where God lived as well. Now as I wake and start each day, I need to be aware that God is with me in whatever comes my way that day. I need to know that God is there and that He is all the wonderful things recounted in this psalm.
The words “be still” are translated a variety of ways depending on the version you read. The King James Version says, “be still” and that seems to be the most popular one. The NASB says “cease striving”. It can also be translated ‘let go’ or ‘relax’. One thing that stands out to me in all of those translations is the idea that I need to stop and get in touch with God. There needs to be action on my part – my willingness to let go. I don’t know about you, but I suspect that you may identify with me. I do strive. I do try my best to do all the things on my schedule. I do care that I’m doing a good job. I do want to cope with this pandemic well. See all that striving? See all that busyness? See all that tension? I need to stop that and consult God much more. When things happen that mess up my plans (my strivings), I need to stop and know who is really in control.
So that takes me back to verse 1. “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble”. And to verse 10. “Be still, and know that I am God!”
And that’s something to think about today.
Our song for today is Take Heart by Matthew West.