Trouble is here. It hunts us down and strangles us at times, it seems. The past year has been proof of that! Nothing seems to remain the same for long and the unknowns are more evident these days than the knowns. How can we raise kids in this uncertainty? How can we focus on work or service or anything?
Seems no sooner do we get a grasp on one thing that the other pops from out of nowhere causing our already skittish souls to jump like a startled kid in a haunted house. Where can we find peace in the midst of such uncertainly and restlessness?
As always the Word offers us the balm our souls crave. Oh, why do I keep running elsewhere?
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” Psalm 46 tells us. He is not just present, but rather very present. The footnote in my Bible says he is “well proved.”
Oh and indeed he is.
My precious Daddy took his last terrestrial breath 730 days ago. Two years lived with my Dad in Heaven and the rest of us just trekking along on this muddy planet. I miss him so much some days, I feel the pain physically in my chest. His absence is felt. Deeply.
In the loss, the Presence of the Lord has been nearly tangible in these last two years. “Though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” Even in great loss, even in pain, even in hard moments, even in pandemics, even in political upheaval and division. We will not fear because He is a VERY present help in this trouble.
So how in the world do we anchor ourselves to our very Present, but very unseen God? How do we cling tightly when our hands appear to grasp air and our skin does not feel His warmth?
By the psalmist’s direction we start by coming and beholding. Verse 8 calls us to come, behold the works of the LORD. What has He already done in the past? Where have you seen Him work?
Unsure of what He has done? Read His Word. Page after page of stunning works of victory, deliverance and abundant grace for messy, rebellious sinners. Keep a prayer journal. Record places He answers your cries with assurances and actions that could have only been Him. Come, behold His works! His power displayed and His ability to cease wars, even wars within our own hearts.
Then be still, the psalmist commands the reader. Pause. Stop running like a wild goose and cease the striving, the grappling, the reaching. Breathe. Deeply.
And in that pausing, know. From the Hebrew word yada which refers to intimate knowledge gained from experience. What do you know to be true about Him? What experience have you had with Him? What characteristics or names have you learned, seen through His Word?
God reveals His character through His Word, take note of what you learn about Him as you read. Keep a list or a journal with names and attributes that He makes evident of Himself. Then yada that, know it, rest in it, pause and let the truth of it soak your soul.
When we have come and beheld Him, paused and acknowledged who He is, we will then recognize with the psalmist, “The LORD of hosts is with us.” We will know it in hard moments when we say final goodbyes, when we fear illnesses or get weary of all the divisiveness. He will be our refuge and our strength because He IS very present.
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