by Joseph Davis
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” – Psalm 46:1-7
Last week, in an unexpected and unprecedented political move, the United Kingdom became the first country to withdraw from the European Communion after being a member state for 43 years. The shock waves of the national referendum were immediate as the uncertain future of Europe caused stock markets to fall sharply across the globe. Experts speculate that this may lead to the withdrawal of Ireland and Scotland from the U.K. as well as threaten the existence of the European Union. Whether you find yourself a supporter of Brexit, opposed to it, or generally indifferent, everyone can agree that this is another example of the fragility and uncertainty that seems so potent in our world today.
The Brexit vote only replaces the leading news of the worst mass shooting in American history leaving 50 dead in Orlando. The current Presidential race in the U.S. reveals a country that is polarized and hurting. Suicide bombings overseas are as common as the weather report. Just a few days ago, a suicide bomber detonated himself in Somalia killing innocent bystanders. Words like ISIS, racial division, and Zika dominate the news.
When the Psalmist describes his own chaotic world as a mighty earthquake (“mountains quake with their surging”) we can relate to him. It’s hard enough for us to keep our own personal lives from feeling like an earthquake, much less global events.
However, the Psalmist then contrasts this chaotic description with a peaceful scene, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” This is not just a description of a future reality – it’s a present reality where peace, trust, and confidence flourish – despite circumstances. The Psalmist has come to understand that the life lived in the presence and protection of God leads to a stability and peace that overcome the anxieties that plague our world.
In God’s family, living as part of His Kingdom, fear and anxiety do not have to be the obvious result of chaotic circumstances. Because of the Holy Spirit at work in the hearts of His people, words like stable, confident, peaceful, and joyful can mark our lives. After all, through Jesus, we have access to the presence of God Himself. He is sovereign, faithful, and true. No terrorist or suicide bomber can thwart his eternal plans.
For Christians, he has promised to work everything for our good, even painful circumstances…no, especially painful circumstances.
They are God’s way to help us become more like Jesus. So, as the Apostle Paul writes, “We are always of good courage!” Let us live in the middle of the chaos by the power of the Holy Spirit. But let us also look forward to a Kingdom that will one day fully come, and a King who will wipe away all our tears.