Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. (NKJV)
I live in Oklahoma where tornadoes, not hurricanes or earthquakes, make life an adventure. The impact point of a tornado is usually more destructive than a hurricane, but of course, the area affected is microscopic comparatively and the chances of getting hit by a tornado are pretty slim (though that’s no consolation to those who have!).
I lived in Florida for a few years and experienced a couple of hurricanes (just the edge of them thankfully!). Unlike a tornado, hurricanes can cover the entire state at one time. You usually have fair warning its coming, and the damage is not as violent and severe on average as that from a direct tornado strike. Still, the deluge of water and reversing winds of a hurricane can destroy everything in its path.
Life’s problems are like tornadoes and hurricanes…
some you see coming, some strike without notice.
Both can be devastating.
Some problems we face are unexpected, tightly focused, extremely intense and cause violent damage to specific areas of our life. The “tornado” trials of life are unpredictable and sudden… like losing your job without prior notice, becoming badly injured in an accident or losing a family member unexpectedly.
The hurricane problems of life can be seen coming on the horizon and while we may have warning, their power and scope can overwhelm us. These storms might come in the form of wayward children, recurring health problems, divorce, bad economies or a slow acting disease.
Therefore we will not fear…
Psalms 46 says “therefore we will not fear..” and that God is present to help us in times of trouble. What kind of trouble? Is it just the general daily problems of life? Are we to have no fear when we find out we have cancer? When the stock market crashes and our life savings is wiped out? When our child dies in an accident? When our house burns down? Can the writer of Psalms 46 have all that in mind when he says “therefore we will not fear”?
- v.2 – …Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Each of the events described in Psalms 46 can be thought of in both a physical and an emotional sense. So whether it is an actual natural disaster, or a personal upheaval, the writer of Psalms had the most extreme circumstances in mind.
Has your whole world been rocked by personal tragedy? Does it feel like the foundations of your life have broken loose and slid off into the depths of the hopelessness? When your personal “earth” is shaken, it can be every bit as damaging as an actual natural disaster.
Therefore we will not fear…
- v. 3 – Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
Have you ever seen a raging river or the sea whipped up by an approaching storm? It is both mesmerizing and terribly dangerous. Life’s troubles can be that way sometimes. Our world can seem to roar and foment with problems and challenges. Life can get so tough sometimes that we feel shaken loose and swept away, helpless to do anything about it.
Therefore we will not fear…
Does the Psalmist leave us hanging with that? Does the Lord tell us not to fear then fail to tell us how that is accomplished? Of course not. How do we “not fear”?
Be still and know that I am God.
What does that mean? It means to be still and know that God is God. Boy, we sure try to complicate things!
When you are in the midst of the storm, when life is shaking beneath your feet, when it seems at any moment the foundations of your life are about to be torn loose and destroyed… be still and know that God is your very present help in your time of trouble.
We can’t get our minds off of ourselves until we are still.
If we are trying to outrun the storm, we can’t stop and know God. If we are scurrying around to tell everyone about our troubles, we can’t know God. If we are busy trying to fix everything, and get life back to “normal”, we can’t know God.
All of our personal efforts to weather the turmoil of life without God are fruitless. Only when we become still and turn our eyes upon God, will the fear subside.
Fear is the result of trusting or gazing at anything but God.
Is there a hurricane on the horizon of your life? Can you see a monstrous, unavoidable, devastating storm bearing down on you? Divorce, terminal illness, money problems, straying kids? Do not fear. Be still, get your focus on God and know Him.
Have you been through an unexpected “tornado”? An accident? Death in the family? Sudden loss of a job or finances? Unfaithful spouse? Do not fear. Be still, get your eyes on God and off your self.
No matter what life is throwing at you, there is one answer to it: turn to God. Get your eyes off the problem, off your self and off other people. Be still. Know God. Focus on God. He is very present in your time of need. And therefore, you will not fear…
Thank You O God that You are very present, and that we can turn to You when the storms of life rage and threaten to undo us. Reveal Yourself to us as we become still and know that You are God. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Is your first reaction to life’s storms to spring into action, or to be still and “know God”? Which is your natural tendency? Why does God tell us to do opposite of our natural inclination? Have you ever been still and pondered God even in the peaceful times of life? Do you think practicing being still when life is peaceful will help you do it when tragedy strikes?
Application: We can’t do in game time what we haven’t done in practice. Learn to be still and meditate on God. Ponder God. Think about the simple fact that God is God, there is none like Him. There is nothing, nothing, nothing in this life that can so much as cause Him to blink unless He so chooses. Be still. Know God.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?