|As I was waiting to head out of town on a trip, I felt anxiety building up in my spirit.
I looked attentively at the other passengers, wondering if any posed a threat. I found myself reading their faces, looking at their carry-on bags and speculating if any dangerous items might have slipped through. I wondered if everyone was healthy or if germs would be running rampant through the circulation system of the aircraft.
All the worries and chaos the world had been experiencing in recent months was heavy on my heart.
Concerns of pandemic viruses, loss of precious lives, natural disasters ripping through communities, and countless tragedies on the news all plagued my thoughts. When we feel such panic, pain and suffering, all of which is out of our control, it’s easy to let fear take over. What’s happening to our world, why are people so evil, why does life feel out of control, and can we ever feel safe and at peace?
My mind was on the verge of drifting to a thousand panic-laced “what-ifs” and “whys” when God gently whispered to my heart the promises found in Psalm 46. I paused to remember He was with me, and there was no need to fear.
Psalm 46:1-3 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” (NLT)
When any type of fear begins to invade our minds, Psalm 46 is a great reminder that no matter what is happening in our lives, our state, our country or our world, God is with us.
These verses assure us God is still our refuge. Our protector. He is where we find strength and peace to get through tough times when we are afraid.
Yet, even knowing this, in the face of tragedy, heartache or panic, we may begin to question God and doubt this promise of protection. Although God does have the authority and ability to protect us from every trouble, sometimes He still allows difficulties in our lives.
But His Word promises He uses our trials to teach us, purify us and draw us closer to Him. Although at times it may seem God has not protected us or our loved ones in the way we needed or desired, we can rest in knowing He is protecting us in the way He knows best. If we were protected from every trial, we would not ever learn to fully depend on Him.
Psalm 46:4-6 goes on to say, “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! … Interlude” (NLT)
Although no river actually existed in Jerusalem, this imagery is meant to represent His peaceful presence, even when life is chaotic. Nothing can destroy the presence of God’s peace and joy in our hearts without our permission.
Notice in this passage, each section ends with the word Interlude, as do follow-up verses. “Interlude” means to pause, break, have breathing space or rest. Although the world is in chaos, God is still God. He is still on the throne. Still mighty. Still faithful. Still sovereign. Still in control.
When we pause to focus on the truth that God is God, our hearts can be at peace even when life feels scary.
If fear has crept into your heart lately, pause and remember that God is your protector, His presence is with you, and He is in the highest position of authority over this broken world. Ask Him to settle the anxiousness in your heart.
Then, just breathe.
Dear Lord, thank You for being a safe place to flee, for always providing peace for our hearts in the face of anxieties. Fill our hearts with joy instead of fear. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.