In the Storm
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. Selah (Psalm 46:1-3)
I was living in Honduras when a devastating earthquake, centered in Guatemala, shook the earth around us, destroying entire villages on the mountainsides, and pancaking multi-story buildings in Guatemala City. Bible believers all over Central America at that time and during the flooding that followed cited Psalm 46 as their security. It fits, doesn’t it? The earth giving way, mountains trembling, and waters roaring and foaming.
The next few verses tell why this psalm is a comfort when the world around us is in an uproar:
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.
Those who belong to God shall not be moved. We live, as the writer of Hebrews says, in an unshakable kingdom. Everything around us can tremble, but we are secure because our kingdom is not of this world. Sometimes the storms are not in nature, but in politics or relationships, but, again, God assures us he is in control:
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. Selah
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.
So, what are we to do when storms, natural or national, rage around us?
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. Selah
Sometimes life is stormy. And when the storm comes, we usually struggle for awhile on our own. Then, desperate. we pray, asking God to stop the wind and relieve our pain. Sometimes he calms the storm and sometimes he has another plan. But whatever he decides, he is in control. Maybe we can think of it like this:
Imagine yourself in a nice, sea-worthy boat with Jesus – just the two of you. He looks at the sky and tells you a storm is coming, it’s time to go down into the hold. You remember he did that when he was with the disciples, so you follow him gladly. After all, that story had a happy ending!
Once you’re down there, a ferocious storm breaks out. You’re afraid and are being thrown from one side of the boat to the other. Panicking, you ask Jesus to calm the storm like he did for his disciples. He doesn’t seem to respond. But silently he reaches out, pulls you gently toward him. and holds you so you are no longer being tossed about.
Then he speaks calmly, right into your ear, “The storm will pass, but I am not going to stop it from running its course. Instead, we’re going to stay here together. With me you will be safe. And when it’s all over, you will trust me more. The kind of trust I want you to have can grow only in the storm.”
Can we trust him to take us through the storm we are facing right now? To hold us close when it’s darkest? To love us enough to do the right thing for us at the right time? We want to. But maybe we learn that kind of trust only in the storm.
“It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his Helper is omnipotent.” Jeremy Taylor
*From The Fisherman by Larry Huntsperger