Psalm 46: Troubled times

Where do you find peace and help in times of trouble? 

As the lockdown continues, we can definitely say we're in a national time of trouble.  We've seen the best and worst of what's in people's hearts too.  There's been generosity, compassion and thankfulness, but also defiance, panic and fear.  There's been rainbows in windows and banging of saucepans but also burglaries and panic-buying of loo roll.  The best and worst of what's inside a person shows itself in troubled times.

This psalm shows us where we can find peace and real help when others might be worried and fearful...

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.


The psalmist knows God's presence and help but he also knows God's presence IS the help he most needs.  He wouldn't trade God's presence for any other comfort or answer to prayer.  The Giver is the best gift.  On his worst days he knows God is with him and so there's nothing to fear.

To those who know God's forgiveness and love through Jesus, the Bible says...

Romans 8:31-39
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
‘For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Knowing this God is why the psalmist has no fear...

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.


Even if this world destroys us (and it does in some places), even if we're killed, the psalmist knows this won't be the end of him and if we've put our trust in Jesus, we can know that it won't be the end of us either.  Even if the worst happens, we will be closer to God than we've ever experienced, more alive than we've ever been.  And this knowledge chases away fear and gives us joy now.

The psalmist knew that in his day, God had promised to be with them in a special way in the temple in Jerusalem.  It was like the hot spot of God's presence on the earth...

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.

And for Christians today, the promise is that God is "within them".  We can each be "temples of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19).  That was God's plan all along.  God promises to be more close to his people today than he ever was before.  

Nations of this world are in varying degrees of turmoil.  We have friends living in a country where before lockdown was enforced, people were so desperate for change they were burning tires and rioting in the streets.  Is the psalmist's day there was also trouble on national and international levels...
 
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.

I love how God's voice cuts through the noise of the panic and worry the world and each one of us is so often racked with.  Even as we read the words of this psalm, we can treasure them.  They are God's words to us today.  He wants to comfort us with his love and presence.  Wherever you are and whatever you face in this moment you can know that God is with you and wants to speak to you about his promises for you.  

His voice is powerful enough to melt the earth and yet gentle enough to not melt you.
 
10 He says, ‘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 Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Just like when Jesus calmed the storm (Matthew 8:23-27), he can also calm our hearts.  He is with us and offers us his peace and his help in times of trouble.  

Will we turn to him and trust him?  I hope and I pray that you will. :)