Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult…
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Psalm 46: 1-3, 5-7, 10-11 (ESV)
Helen Keller was an American author and social activist who lived from 1880 until 1968. At the age of nineteen months she contracted Scarlet fever which left her deaf and blind for the rest of her life. Despite that, and what some might view as a handicap, she was actively involved in the women’s suffrage and labor rights movements in our country.
She once shared that “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full of the overcoming of it.”
Not a bad mission statement for today.
We have been here before, just by a different name, and we have overcome what we have faced before.
And with Him, we are moving on to overcome all that is before us now.
As a nation and world, we have had our share of suffering and setbacks in this 2020 year. The coronavirus pandemic left us trying to stem its virulent march, while finding treatments and a vaccine. And we are on the way.
Racial tensions reared their ugly heads, and what started initially as peaceful protests, were spurred on by the orchestrated actions of radical groups, disintegrating into violence, looting, and the loss of life and property, while local leaders looked on.
But individually and as a nation, we will continue to move on to a better place and become better as a nation in the process.
After the attacks on our nation on September 11, 2001, there was probably no Psalm read more than Psalm 46. That and the 23rd Psalm.
Why? Well, for one, maybe because of its references to the earth giving way, mountains being moved, nations raging, kingdoms tottering, which seemed to be what was happening with the destruction through the attacks. A bit like these times this year.
But most importantly, right at the beginning of the Psalm we are reminded that no matter what—God is our refuge and strength. And we needed that reminder individually and as a nation.
Throughout the Psalms, we see expressions of doubt, asking God “why?”, when the writers and people of those days faced uncertainty, despair, failure, lost direction and purpose—things we can identify with in our own lives and as a nation. Things we have all experienced, and probably will again in some way.
Throughout our lives—personally and as a nation—doubt about what’s going on around us, and what may be coming next are very real feelings, and God knows it, and understands our times of doubt.
He reminds us in so many ways to remember that no matter what we face, He is on our side. That when the mountains shake and tremble, and the waters roar and foam, and the nations rage—we are to stop, to look around, to listen for His voice, and remember that He has always been with us in whatever we faced before, and He is there now, and will be there again.
In those times, faced with whatever comes, we need to remember and re-read the end of Psalm 46, at verse 10—
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
There will be times where we may find ourselves focusing on the mountains shaking and trembling before us, or on whatever else is going on.
But with the God who is always standing there with us, our focus soon returns to and remains on Him.
To Him, our God, who knows the way when facing mountains, and will walk with us through, over or around them, to the other side.
Let the mountains shake—God’s got us.
In His Name–Scott