“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”—Psalm 46:1-3
“‘Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”—Psalm 46:10-11
Katrina, Irene, and Sandy—just three of the mighty hurricanes that have hit our shores here in America recently. This is not to mention the devastation that has taken place in recent years in Haiti, Japan, and dozens of other countries, thanks to nature’s fury.
When we turn the pages of the Bible, we discover that God is the One who openly takes responsibility for these disasters, even if He uses secondary causes—weather patterns, earth shifts, or even Satan, to do His bidding. Natural disasters are designed to teach us, that life is often unexpectedly short, that eternity is more important than time, and that they are a preview of much worse calamities still to come (just read the book of Revelation!).
Of all the images that come to mind when I think back to the devastating Haitian earthquake that killed nearly 200,000 people, the one I picture the most is that of a young mother with a baby in her arms, being interviewed.
“I lost my son…he died in the rubble.”
“Did you get to bury him?”
“No, no chance; his body was crushed in the rubble; I just had to throw him away.”
Just then I noticed the camera zero in on her backpack as she prepared to board a bus. Stuffed in a side pocket, was a Bible. Then, as she boarded the bus and speaking to no one in particular she said, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…” Her voice trailed off as she disappeared from view.
When the report was over, I just kept staring at the television for a moment, pushing back tears and letting what I’d just seen sink into my soul. A dead child, a baby in her arms, boarding a bus that was going to she knew not where; no chance to plan a funeral and pay respects to her precious little one, and there she is still believing, still trusting that that God is her refuge and strength.
Faith in adversity!
This mother—God bless her—began quoting Psalm 46, which was written as a praise song when God spared the city of Jerusalem during the invasion of the Assyrians who were threatening to annihilate the inhabitants. In the midst of a harrowing escape, the people found God to be an unshakable pillar. Please read the entire Psalm for yourself.
Pray for all those who today are experiencing calamities of whatever kind. Let us also pray for ourselves that we would be able to trust God even when, humanly speaking, it does not make sense.
Let Us Pray
Father, I pray that I might have the faith to trust You even when I experience devastating loss—whether it be my child or my property. I pray that I would have the faith to believe that I belong to You and You belong to me, and that is all that really matters because time is short and eternity is long.
I pray for ______ that he/she might trust You in the midst of their loss; I pray that when their faith fails, You will grant them the strength and the comfort to believe that Your promises are still true; that Your care for them is not dependent on a good outcome in this world, but that You will carry us victoriously to our heavenly home.
Strengthen our faith for we are weak.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.