“…Place the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping small children or others who may need your assistance.”– Every flight attendant ever
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it will be a considerable amount of time before many of us hear these words in their original context. But, relegated to our homes, while practicing social distancing and thrust into situations that were unfathomable just one month ago, with worries about jobs, schools, markets…everything – this instruction is still fitting.
The only certainty about coming weeks is that they will be filled with more uncertainty. And uncertainty painfully reveals our vulnerability, and betrays the lie we’ve believed that we are in control.
We are not.
And, COVID-19 has shown us that not a single leader, scientist, physician, or economist on earth is. That frightens us, and our children can sense it. But before we can sufficiently comfort and reassure them, WE need to be reassured.
“Be still and know that I am God.” is often quoted as a reminder to trust God during difficult times. However, to get a clearer picture of God’s character, read Psalm 46 in its entirety, written by the gatekeepers and “worship leaders” of Israel, who regularly faced threats from invading nations.
They knew that Israel didn’t need fluffy encouragement about their resilience.
They needed to remember who God is.
Pray, then read and re-read this passage. Sit still for a while to think about it.
God is our refuge and strength,Psalm 46:1-11
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
During these times of uncertainty,
we would do well to remember that God is:
Are you worried about what difficulties are ahead? He is our shelter in danger and trouble.
Are you overwhelmed? He carries us when we are weak and overwhelmed.
Are you trying to figure out where God is in all of this? He’s here. Always.
the Most High
Do you feel that this situation is unbelievably out of control? It is out of our control, but not His.
Do you feel constantly afraid and worried? He sees you. Israel was afraid of armies and He reminded them He is Lord over those as well – in heaven and on earth. He’s Lord over your fears too.
a promise keeper
Remember those other times you had no idea how you would make it?He gave His word to Jacob, and He kept it – generation after generation.
There is nothing created that He can’t destroy, no situation He can’t bring to its end.
“Lord, in light of all that is going on around me, I confess that I am anxious, fearful and overwhelmed. Help me to take this psalm to heart. Remind me that you are my refuge and strength, so I don’t have to carry the weight. Remind me that you are always, always present and available to hear my cries and prayers. Lord, when the news presents me with one more obstacle, will You prompt my heart to be still? Bring to mind the ways you have answered prayers before. God, I need to see you more clearly, and my vision of you needs to be clearer and bigger than everything else that currently clouds my view. I surrender my fears, worries, concerns, strategies, and plans to you – help me to cease striving, to stop fighting, and be still -knowing without any doubt that you are the One true God - who sees all, knows all, and controls it all. As you reassure me, grant me the words to share, encourage and comfort my family and others. In Jesus name, Amen.