Psalm 46 opens with the following words: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (vv. 1-2, NKJV).
Verse 7 states: “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” And verse 10 reads: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Turbulence, trials, violence, fear, tension and uncertainty seem to be a big part of our everyday life. If we are not experiencing something difficult right now, we probably know someone who is.
These challenging situations not only cause a constant state of physical anxiety, but also spiritual panic. Panic that creates doubt. And doubt causes us to ask, like John the Baptist, ” ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ ” (Luke 7:20).
The spiritual calm that God commands does not come from a lack of troubles. Rather, it comes from a steady, deep reflection on how God has intervened in history on behalf of His people (see Rom. 15:4).
As you are confronted with a daily load of uncertainties, “stand still”—not because of a self-made confidence; not because you are the most composed person in the face of adversity. No, “be still,” because His Word will never fail. It is God’s faithfulness in the past that provides calm for our future. Know that He is God!
Remember how the Red Sea parted at God’s Word. Remember how the walls of Jericho fell at God’s Word. Remember how Joseph, in spite of all odds, became a “governor over the land” in Egypt at God’s Word (see Gen. 42:6).
Do you remember any personal experience in your life that made you say, as did Jacob, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not” (Gen. 28:16)? You remember … aha! He is that same God. Times and seasons may change, but God does not.
Today the one industry that is thriving in spite of the hard economic times we face is the pharmaceutical industry. One book I read claimed that 15 million people in America alone suffer from enough anxiety to need medication. But there are deep causes for panic attacks and anxiety. Medication can only do so much.
David said, “I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother” (Ps. 131:2). Jesus looked in the eyes of His disciples and said, ” ‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.’ ” Jesus was saying, regardless of what happens, calm down; I am in charge and always will be. His disciples needed those words then, as we do today.
We are all troubled in one way or another. Anxious about what will happen with our jobs or with our health. Anxious about the direction of our ministries or our marriages. Anxious about who loves us and who doesn’t.
In John 16:33 Jesus said: ” ‘These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ “
In other words, you are fine. When Jesus spoke these words, He was not speaking from the beach of Galilee or from the clear water bay of Hong Kong or from the Island of Hawaii. He said these things as He stood near the jaws of hell itself. He sat with His frightened disciples in the upper room, preparing for the worst of humanity and the silence of heaven.
Whenever you are besieged with questions, just remember, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it” (Phil. 1:6). Stand on His Word. Shalom!
By: Basil Osuji, senior pastor of Brentwood Foursquare Church in Brentwood, Md.