Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1 NIV
How are you with tight spaces? Me? Thanks for asking. I hate them. I’m sure Freud would say it stems from the womb. Maybe it’s the residual trauma from sleep overs at friends houses where they’d play “Trap the slowest kid in the sleeping bag”. (Spoiler alert, I’m not fast) Who knows? But I have issues with confinement – physically, socially, all of it.
So when I read that “trouble” here can also be translated as “a tight spot”, I had two options on my response: I could be annoyed that God’s creeping in on my quasi-claustrophobic space bubble (like that guy who tries to cram himself into an already crowded elevator in a post-ish-covid society), or I could find peace in the fact that was always standing next to me, even when I did not realize it.
He never “enters into” our hard times, He was there with us when the walls were caving in.
The remaining lines of the Psalm build a case that God is the shelter we run in to – in times of flood or times of war. He’s a shelter that is always available – before, during and after the storm.
But we must see Him as safe in order to find true safety in Him. Which is why the Psalm culminates in God calling us to attention (which was another way “be still” could have been phrased) in order to “know” Him.
To know Him is to recognize Him for who he really is, no matter where we find Him in our lives. It is to see Him for who the Bible reveals Him to be, not as our circumstances or culture warp our perspectives to think of Him as.
We are then invited to take what you know about Him, and let that shape the language of our prayers and our praise. “How do I do this?”, you may ask. Great question. Say you have a big decision to make. Start your prayers being reminded that God is all knowing, wise and self-sufficient. From that foundation, ask Him to intervene on your behalf and help you with answers, wisdom and the provision needed to make that decision.
I will leave you with a list of characteristics that the Bible uses to describe God. They’re not exhaustive because God is inexhaustible. But they are a good start.
Take some time to think about these characteristics in light of your past, present and future life. And then turn them into prayers and praise. No matter how tight of a corner you feel trapped in today, you’re not alone. God is there as your refuge – and He is safe.
God is Just, Holy, Merciful, Wise, Faithful, Good, Gracious, Loving, Sovereign, All Powerful, All Knowing, All Present, Self-Sufficient, Glorious, Eternal and Never Changing.
(For more of this, listen or watch the March 6th service).