Do you ever feel afraid of what’s going to happen next… not only in our country, or in our world, but in your own life?
This past weekend as I was waiting to board a plane to fly to Washington Dulles airport for a women’s retreat, I felt a little twinge of anxiety for the first time in forever.
I looked around attentively at the other passengers waiting at the gate, wondering if any of them posed a safety threat. I knew it was silly, but I still found myself trying to read their faces; looking at their carry on back packs and bags and speculating if anything dangerous might have slipped through security. Then I became fixed on a man talking on the phone in a foreign accent and wearing a gold shirt with the words SOLDIER across his back in big black letters.
My mind could have quickly drifted to a thousand “what-ifs”, but God gently whispered to my spirit and reminded me of His promise in Psalm 46. It was a Psalm that I was going to be speaking about over the weekend, and as I allowed those promises to sink into my heart, it was as if suddenly I could breathe again. I paused to remember that He was with me, and there was no need to fear.
You see, the horrific events of the past few weeks been so heavy on my heart as tragic stories and heartbreaking pictures saturated the news. The Boston Marathon bombing, the massive floods in the mid-West, the plant explosion in Texas, the Ricin political letters, the earthquakes and tragedies overseas. When we see senseless tragedies taking place and innocent people slain and injured, one can’t help but harbor a bit of fear deep inside their heart. We wonder what’s happening to our world, why are people so evil, and how can we ever feel safe?
The promises tucked into Psalm 46 (NLT) are a perfect place to focus when we begin to feel fearful about the future and the unknown in any aspect of life. It is an awesome passage to remind us that no matter what, God is with us.
Psalm 46: 1-4 says “God is our refuge and strength,always ready to help in times of trouble.So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” Interlude
In this section of the passage we are reminded God is our Protector. He is where we find strength to get through tough times when we are afraid. When the earth crumbles from earthquakes or bombs, floods abound, avalanches roar – He is our refuge. A safe place to flee. A place to pause and breathe in His strength.
Psalm 46:5-7 says “A river brings joy to the city of our God,the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos,and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders,and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.” Interlude
In this section, we see that God’s Presence is always with us through “a river”. It’s interesting to note that there was no river in Jerusalem – so the river mentioned here was God Himself. You see, Egypt had the Nile River and Rome had the Tiber River, but Jerusalem had the River of God – a river flowing from the throne of God Himself. Even when nations are at odds, God’s Presence was with His people, and that was all they really needed. Revelation 22:1 also speaks to this, “Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
The River of God will flow into our hearts every day if we allow it to. We can pause and breathe knowing His Presence is with us.
Psalm 46:8-11 says “Come, see the glorious works of the Lord: See how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;the God of Israel is our fortress.” Interlude
Although the world is in chaos, God is still God. He is still on the throne. Still a place of refuge. Still mighty. Still faithful. He is still on the throne in the same Almighty Position as always. If we believe that, we do need not fear. When we believe that God is still God, our hearts can be still and rest in His sovereignty. We can trust in situations where we are fearful. We can pause and breathe.
And Psalm 46 tells us to do exactly that. You see, in all three sections in this passage, each one ends with the word Interlude. The definition of “interlude” is to pause or break. A few synonyms for “interlude” are breathing space, delay, halt, hiatus, intermission, and rest.
This passage reminds us that God is our Protector, so we can pause and breathe. His Presence is with us, so we can pause and breathe. He is in a Position of authority over this world, and we can pause and breathe. We need not fear, because He is still here, and as a result, our hearts can be still and know that He is God.
Maybe fear has been knocking at your heart lately, and just maybe, you need to pause and breathe today, allowing Him to settle the anxiousness in your heart. Pause and remember that God is your Protector, His Presence is with you, and He is in the highest Position of authority. Then, just breathe.