Trusting, Waiting, Stilling
Even when its HARD
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The imagery invoked by the Psalmist is powerful. A God who stands firmly in the camp of those brought low by the ravages of life in this world. A God that ushers in peace, justice, and healing. Sign me up for God’s team!
Oh, wait. I’m already on God’s team; and so are you. Washed, cleansed, re-born, and redeemed we are not only God’s team, we are children of God, God’s family. We are those adopted into the household, the family, that is Father, +Son, and Holy Spirit. We have been named and claimed by Jesus, and nothing will ever sperate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
However, I look around and I see, feel, and grieve the state of our world. War in Ukraine. War in Syria. Famine and war throughout Africa. The threat of war in Taiwan. Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Mass shootings in schools, malls, concerts, and churches in the U.S. Teen mental health crisis assaulting our youth. Homelessness, poverty, hunger, sexism, racism, opioid and fentanyl crisis, and more assaults all threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions at home and around the world.
The power of God, about which the Psalmist speaks so powerfully, feels as though the Psalmist doesn’t really understand how bad things are.
Except, the Psalmist knows how bad things are. The Psalmist knows how bad things are in this world because our world is the world of the Psalmist. The world of the Psalmist is our world. Adversity, injustice, calamity, disaster, war, and oppression are “baked into” the world in which we live. The Psalmist was, and is, speaking of a God who knows exactly where we live and what we face.
And it is precisely into this fallen, broken, mess of a world that Jesus took on flesh. Son of God, fully human and fully divine, Jesus became, becomes, and will become our “very present help in trouble (vs. 1).” Jesus’ entry into our “present trouble” wasn’t an entry by a far off and distant or powerless God. It is the entry of a God that takes on all that it means to be human and live in a broken place. The coming of Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, acknowledges the suffering of all humanity and incorporates that suffering into the very economy of God. In Jesus, God wraps all who suffer in the outstretched arms of the one who died for the sake of this suffering world.
God took, takes, and will take the sufferings of this world into the very heart of the Godhead.
God took, takes, and will take all that the world endures and carries it to death on the cross.
God took, takes, and will take all of the injustice, brokenness, and pain and laid it in a tomb.
God took, takes, and will take all of our fears, questions, doubts, and struggles and responds . . .
DEATH IS DEFEATED!
GOD’S GRACE, HOPE, AND LOVE HAS PREVAILED, IS PREVAILING, AND WILL PREVAIL!
God’s word “be still and know that I am God (vs. 10)” calls us to a stillness, a peace, in the midst of the storm that rages around us. In that stillness, that peace in the God of Jesus Christ, we encounter the one who has defeated death and calls us into life.
In the end, the Psalmist’s word is a summation of all of Scripture, all of God’s Word, all of who Jesus was, is, and will be. That Word is “God wins”! Against all odds, against all foes, against all adversaries, against all that would do us harm, God wins!
We are children of a God who, in Christ Jesus our Lord, is bringing us into the fullness of God’s kingdom. Our journey through this life can feel overwhelming, but as we journey we are not alone, for “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble (vs. 1).”
The time of trouble is real, and it hurts. Yet, the Word of God brings peace and hope to our weary lives as we find refuge and strength in the love and grace of Jesus. Thanks be to God.