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God Is Our Refuge And Strength: Reflections During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Psalm 46:1-3
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.

The psalmist begins by making some incredible statements about who God is. He is our refuge: our security, our safety, our stability, our shelter from the storm. He is also our strength. One of the fascinating things about God is that He never gets tired. He’s never weary. He’s never weak. He never goes to bed. He never takes an afternoon nap. He never gets a little shaky from low blood sugar. He’s never been “hangry.” He IS strength. He is our strength. He is also a very present help in trouble. He is near. He is present. Very present. He is close and He is helping.

With those three life-giving, stabilizing, and comforting declarations of who God is, the psalmist make an incredible “therefore” statement. God is our refuge, strength, and help therefore WE WILL NOT FEAR. We have been set free from the crippling reality of fear. Why? We belong to God. We’re his children. He’s near. He’s helping. He’s strong. He’s a refuge.

The psalm-writer then gives a pretty mind-blowing scenario. The earth giving way. Picture an earthquake. I’m immediately trying to recall some movie scene because I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life and thankfully have no experience with earthquakes. I will say that the F-15 sonic booms that plague our Air Force town are very earthquake-ish to me. I digress. He also talks about the mountains falling into the sea with a gigantic, roaring, foaming swell. What?! Can you imagine living in a day where the ground you walk on “gives way” and the mountains start falling into the ocean? That’s a picture of something regularly stable becoming radically unstable. However, this is the scenario the writer comes up with after making his WE WILL NOT FEAR proclamation. God is our refuge, strength, and help. Therefore we will not fear though the earth becomes ravished with chaos. Powerful.

What is your “though” right now? What is the scenario that is troubling you the most? Is it the news that COVID-19 is officially present in Middle Georgia? As we watched and read about China, Italy, and Atlanta, the pandemic was an idea. Now that it’s arrived on our doorstep it’s a reality. Is your “though” a financial crisis? Maybe you’ve been diligently investing in your retirement only to wake up one day and see that your 401k suffered a tremendous loss. It may be that your troubling scenario is watching the world around you panic on all the social media platforms. Maybe your “though” is not knowing how long this pandemic is going to last.

Our natural tendency is to cling to whatever our “though” is. We become consumed by it. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Panicking.

I want to encourage us to release the “though” and cling to God with both hands. White knuckled. Trusting. He is our refuge and strength and a present help in times like these.

Pastor Josh

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