“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High, God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” Psalm 46
A cancer journey almost always has unexpected twists and turns. When my husband’s cancer relapsed and started growing with new vengeance we were thrown onto a new, intense stretch of this journey. No longer did cancer feel like just a “bend in the road.” As his pain intensified and we found ourselves first in the emergency room, and then bound for Hershey Medical Center, our cancer journey magnified. Now rather than a bend it felt like a wide, slippery road descending into the unknown. I was frightened. Was the pain here to stay? Were there more treatment options? Could the immediate crisis be resolved so chemotherapy could begin again? Would we make the right decisions?
Somewhere deep below all the fearful questions was a river of calm flowing from the throne of God. One evening as several of the children and I gathered around his hospital bed, John read about it. “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High, God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her and that right early.” These curious words about a river are tucked in the middle of the very comforting and poetic Psalm 46. The words fell over me like a welcome shower of grace, made even more special by my husband’s physically weakened, yet spiritually strong voice.
After he was finished reading the psalm, John talked to us about how encouraged he was by the psalm. “If you can imagine something so strong that would move the mountains into the midst of the sea—that’s strong. And we are not to fear even that, so we don’t need to be afraid now either.” We bowed our heads for family prayer time. I thought about the frightening days we’d just gone through. Why, we’d even felt an earthquake! We saw the hospital floor move with the power of the tremors from a faraway quake. Yet God was our very present help.
“The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” More words of Psalm 46 comforted me. Even in the hospital room. Even with the unknowns we face. Even in the face of great trial. God is our refuge. Oh, the blessing of it! He is our refuge and strength. He is a very present help in trouble.
Ah yes, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
God, here we are. Afraid, but knowing You are in control and we don’t need to fear. Here we are trying to be still, and knowing, really KNOWING that you are God.
Be exalted in the earth. Be exalted in our lives.
Prayer for today:
Dear Lord, Be our refuge and strength. Be our very present help in time of trouble. When the earth around us is shaking, when the waters of a great storm are roaring about us, calm us with the river that makes glad the city of God. Help us to be still and know that You are God. Be exalted in the earth. We exalt You. And thank You for Psalm 46. Amen.