It is a scary world that we live in and with each passing day the headlines tell of shootings, severe weather, terror threats, political unrest, economic upheaval and global instability.
In our personal lives we are faced with job insecurity, financial loss, health issues, broken relationships, prodigals, disobedient children, drama and the list goes on and on.
How quickly we find ourselves wringing our hands, trying to “make things work”, working hard to fix people, worrying about those we love and ourselves. Fear slithers in, like the one who uses it to pierce the heart and mind, and drains us of all peace.
How are we to respond?
When life begins to crumble you find yourself drowning in a sea of circumstances, when the world is swirling and the noise is deafening REMEMBER
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear… Psalm 46:1-2
The pressure to embrace the fear is great! But, our Refuge is even greater! As believers it is possible to be strong and confident no matter what is happening in today’s headlines, in our families or in our personal lives.
The way to overcome that fear is to trust what God’s Word says is true and cling to it, the way a child who is afraid, wraps their arms and legs around their father and refuses to let go. Why do they do that? Because they KNOW they are safe in their daddy’s arms. He is their refuge in times of trouble.
We live in a sinful, broken world and the one thing we can be certain of, is that our days are uncertain!
BUT, God’s Word is crystal clear – we serve a BIG God who is ever present and personal. While the nations are raging and kingdoms totter, the Lord of Hosts is with us – He is our fortress! (Psalm 46:6-7)
So what do you do when you are struggling with fear and uncertainty?
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10
There are three parts to this verse
Be Still (cease striving)
It carries the idea of – stop struggling against, stop fighting, stop trying to figure things out. In other words we are to rest, relax, chill out, drop our weapons and stop fighting!
I don’t know about you, but it is very hard for me to be still. When I am struggling with fear and feeling out of control I want to do something. I want to take matters into my own hands and do whatever it takes to “make it right” – in doing so I often find refuge in all the wrong places. I trust in myself or others rather than resting in God.
But, there is another aspect to being still – that is learning to be quiet.
We live in a noisy world, one that is not only filled with sounds but with a multitude of voices. If we were honest with ourselves, most of us would confess that we are “plugged in” 24/7. The TV is on 24/7 (even if it is just for noise), iPods are plugged in, fans are blowing, Sirius XM enables us to listen in the car, at home or anywhere we happen to be!
There is also the multitude of voices: friends, family, foes, teachers, mentors and other sundry voices. Which ones do you listen to? Who carries the heaviest weight? We need to discern if this is God speaking through them or is it just the flesh?
When we are free from outside turbulence we are better able to hear the still, small voice of God’s Spirit. He speaks to us, but sometimes we aren’t quiet enough to hear Him.
One other voice that needs to b quieted is the voice of our flesh, the one which speaks in the language of worries, doubts and fears. By taking those thoughts captive and resting in God’s Word, peace replaces the turbulence. That doesn’t mean the storm has passed, it means the storm is no longer within you. The storms may still rage, but you will be free from their effects.
Know that I am God
Learn that He is God, or you might think of it as “see that I am God”, or “Get to know Me better”. The way to get to know God better is to consistently be in His Word, learning who He is, what your relationship with Him is and how He operates. There is no better way to get to know someone than by spending time with them.
The more you get to know God, the easer it becomes to step back and see that He is who He says He is!
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth
Often I exalt myself and try to be my own god. I do what I want to do, when I want to do it! I take matters into my own hands. “I do it!”, as my granddaughter says.
However, there is only one god! (Deuteronomy 6:4) I am not He and neither are you!
When we become still and get to know Him we can stand in confidence no matter what is happening around us. And when we do, others will see and they too will know that He is God – and hopefully want whatever it is that we have!
Where do I start?
I would like to suggest you read Psalm 46, implant its words deep down in your heart so that you can stand firm on them when your circumstances try to consume you.
Actually, I think it would be a great exercise to not simply read Psalm 46, but to engage with it.
- Print out a copy of the text. (Double spaced to give yourself some room to work.)
- Read Psalm 46
- Mark God by drawing a triangle over every reference to God, including synonyms and pronouns.
- Make a list of everything you learn about God in this Psalm. For example:
1. God is our refuge and strength (verse 1)
2. A very present help in trouble (verse 1)
- Evaluate your list and see how it applies to you.
When I find myself in trouble, I need to act on what I know know is true. For example:
I can run to God my refuge and strength and not to my friends.
I go to His Word for strength and direction.
I cling to the truth of the Bible even when I don’t understand my circumstances.
Often we create our own drama because we don’t know how to live quietly, how to be still at the proper time. One of the marks of a mature believer is being still and confident, trusting God no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, as the result of being in the Word.
Stillness and confidence will be your strength and will reveal the One you serve!