The morning ushered in one of the worst storms in recent memory. As I checked the weather online to see where the impending tornado warnings loomed, the newscaster warned for listeners to prepare by gathering items and taking shelter. While listening to the thunder, I thought of how often we prepare for any weather event in our lives, but are shell-shocked when life-circumstances get stormy. So how can we spiritually prepare for and endure the “storms” that pop up in our lives?
As I reflected on this question, my heart turned to Psalm 46. In this passage, the psalmist voices various life troubles. However, despite all the strife, the psalmist finds rest. I believe he does this in the following ways.
1. Trust in the Character of God
The psalmist in Psalm 46 declares the character of God in verse 1. He states that God is his refuge and strength; a well-proven help in times of trouble. Scripture acknowledges God as a Refuge 94 times. Other names to describe God are our Shield (Psa 84:11), Rock (Deu 32:4), and Fortress (Psa 46:7). It is part of His nature that He wants us to take shelter in Him and come to Him when life is messy.
In the New Testament, God is described as our Father (Romans 8:15), the God of Peace (Hebrews 13:20), and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). Similarly, through Jesus, we have an Advocate (1 John 2:1), a Deliverer (Romans 11:26), and a Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). These qualities of God give us hope in tough times because they declare the truth about who God is.
2. Acknowledge God’s Presence in Hardship
Throughout Psalm 46, the writer makes known the presence of God during tragedy. The first three verses describe catastrophes such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Yet, the psalmist hopes because he understands God’s presence through the calamity. The fact that God is in the midst leads the psalmist to the conclusion that the city will not be moved (Psa 46:5).
As Christians, the Lord gives us the Holy Spirit as a Comforter, Counselor, and Teacher (John 14:15-27, John 16:5-15, Romans 8:1-17).The Spirit lives within us, therefore,giving us access to His care whenever we need. This provides us with the peace we need in any given trial.
3. Declare God’s Power over Affliction
The writer of Psalm 46 not only affirms God’s presence during trials, but he also boasts in God’s power over them. In verse 6, it is by God’s voice that everything becomes still. According to verse 9, it is God who makes wars cease.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus shows his divinity by exercising his authority over nature, disease, demons, and even death. God demonstrated the immensity of His power through the resurrection of Christ. It is this same power of God that is at work in our lives as believers (1 Cor 2:4-5; 1 Cor 6:4; 2 Cor 13:4).
4. Remember God’s Previous Works
The writer implores the reader to remember how the Lord has shown His mighty works in the past (Psa 46:8). By recalling His past deeds, the reader’s faith emboldens.
Before his crucifixion, Jesus asked his disciples to continue to practice the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Christ (Luke 22:19-20). Previously, the Passover meal observance signified God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery. Jesus brought a new significance to the bread and the cup. These Scriptural reminders throughout have helped His people recall how God has remained faithful to His covenant. When we call out how God has worked in the past and set aside physical reminders of His working, it gives us opportunity to reflect on how God continually shows is character, presence, and power on our personal lives. This allows us to remain stalwart when the world rages against us.
As the storm clouds brewed, I continued to watch the newscast. My daughter looked at me with the innocence of a child and said, “Mommy, the storms have to pass in order for the rainbows to come.” I gently kissed her precious forehead in gratitude for her wisdom. In that moment, I embraced Psa 46:10-11 which states, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lordof hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
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Cortney is a wife and mother of two wonderfully energetic children. She received her Masters of Theology Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. After serving in the church for nearly 15 years, Cortney currently serves as a lay-leader and writes for various Christian ministries. You can find her at www.unveilinggraces.blogspot.