You know when you are at the beach, out in the ocean, and you see a wave coming? This wave is big, but you are pretty sure you can jump over it. All of a sudden, this wave is up on you and it is much bigger than you thought. It takes you down under the water, flips you a few times, and then drags you through the sand. You get up slowly, gasping for breath, trying to make sure your bathing suit is still covering you (and sometimes it’s not…I’ve been there).
Sometimes I feel like this is how life treats us. We are going along fine, and then all of a sudden a million things hit at once and leave us dragging and gasping for breath. My community has faced a lot of moments like this lately. Every time I turn around it seems like someone I know (or know of) has just gotten sick or someone has been taken from this world suddenly and too soon. It is easy to look to God and ask where He is throughout all of this chaos.
I think about the people of Haiti I will be leaving on Thursday to serve. These people have faced so much unrest and chaos through earthquakes and extreme poverty. I have thought to myself, “how can I tell these people that Jesus loves them when they have been through such devastation?”
But Psalm 46 brings peace and an assurance of God’s presence at all times. It is so easy to be consumed by fear, doubt, and hopelessness, but God tells us that He 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, through its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (v. 1-3).
I think we often make the mistake of thinking that if we are good enough followers of Christ, God will reward us with an easy life. The funny thing is, it always seems to be the opposite. The most difficult trials always seem to come to those who are the most faithful to God. But here’s the thing; God never said that we would not have trouble. In fact, He says that we WILL have trouble. But God does promise that He will never leave our side through the storms we face. God equips those who are faithful to Him with the strength to overcome the difficulties of life. Those who are followers of Christ have the foundation to withstand the storm.
Verses 4 and 5 go on to say, “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.”
When a river flows through a village, it brings nourishment and life to the area. It bring sustenance and growth. If the steam were to dry up, it would leave the people thirsty, tired, and malnourished. There would be no more life or growth.
The same goes for our relationship with the Lord. God flows through us like a river. He sustains us and gives us life. He equips us to face the toughest of storms. But when we let our relationship with God fall and we abandon our time with Him for other things, the river begins to dry up. We will be left lifeless, tired, and thirsty. Most of the time we will search for a way to quench the thirst with temporary “nutrition.”
In the midst of every trial and heartbreak, God is with us. He is always there to take us back. God does not abandon us, we abandon Him. But the best part is, He is always there to wrap us in unconditional love. Chaos is inevitable, but so is God’s victory over evil.