Scripture: Psalm 46
Key verses: (1-3, 10)
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
Reflection: In 2001 I was scheduled to preach as a guest at a church on September 16th. I had a sermon text picked out, and had made some notes about what I planned to say. On the Tuesday of that week, September 11th, the world turned upside down. I don’t remember what I had planned to say before then. But I remember what psalm I read on Sunday. It was this one: Psalm 46. I couldn’t think of another description in the Bible that spoke more closely to what it felt like to live through those first days. It felt like the earth was trembling, and everyone was afraid. Yet preachers stood in pulpits all over our country and said something like “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
The Psalmist is confident that God is in control, no matter the trouble at hand. War, rumors of war, upheavals large and small—none of it is outside of God’s ability to be our refuge and strength in the midst of it. The Psalm starts with loud trouble: shaking and roaring. It ends with the quiet reminder to be still, and know that God is God.
I wonder if we can hold onto this reminder all the time. Not just when nations are in an uproar, although that is frequent, even when it might not be apparent to us. I wonder if we can claim the sure and certain hope of God as refuge and strength in the middle of whatever troubles us on a smaller scale: family woes, worries about jobs, health, the future. Can you find the strength to be still, and trust that God is in charge?
Prayer: Lord, you are my refuge and strength, always. Help me to trust in you. Help me to be still and know that you are God, and I am not. And that is good news. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].