One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 46.  God always speaks to me in and through it, and this week has been no exception.  The Psalm begins by saying:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
It’s times like this, when the Coronavirus threat is raging around us and we are locked inside, wondering how long this is going to last, that we truly discover who or what we are truly making our refuge.  Our refuge is what makes us feel secure, safe, protected.  Is our refuge God?  Is He the one we rely on?  Is He the one we are trusting to get us through each day?  Or, somewhere along the way, did we make something else or someone else our refuge?  Many people make their spouse, their kids, their job, their reputation, their things, their bank accounts, their country, their hobbies, or some addiction their refuge.  All of these people or things will eventually fail us…as we have seen many of them do so over the past few weeks.  And when our refuge fails us…we become agitated…insecure…afraid.  But when we place God as our refuge, we will not be shaken because He will NEVER fail us, just as the next few verses tell us:
“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.”
Having God as our refuge doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen to us.  It does mean. though, that we don’t need to fear when it does!  We can trust God to take care of us!  Nothing is to big for Him…even a Coronavirus!  So if we make God our refuge, He will produce peace in us, and take away the fear.  We will be like a calm spring in the midst of raging waters.
“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 the break of day.  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts His voice, the earth melts.”
You and I are that river!  The image that the Psalmist is creating is of a calm, slowly meandering stream that is making its way to its destination while everything around it (nations, the earth) is in an uproar.  DO you want to be like that stream?  You can!  You just need to make God your refuge (security–what you trust in).  So…how do you do that?  A few verses later, the Psalmist (but really God is the one saying it) gives this advice (really its a command):
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Other translations say it this way:  “Cease striving and know that I am God.”
What is God saying?  Let me explain it with an illustration of my own:  there are many people each year that drown in the ocean even though there was a lifeguard present.  Why?  Because they are flailing around so much, trying to save themselves, that the lifeguard can’t reach them to save them!  Just as many of us try so hard to save ourselves in hard times, that we don’t see (or maybe care to see) God holding out His hand to save us.  So, cease striving.  O,r perhaps, my own translation:  “Cease flailing and know that I am God.”
Over the next few weeks or perhaps even months, you will be tempted to “save” yourselves.  Don’t do it.  You’ll fail…and the result will be fear.  Instead, let God be your refuge–rest and be still in Him–and you’ll discover peace…and rest…and freedom.
“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Pastor Andy

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