when everything gives way

Do you ever have those days when everything seems to be crumbling? When things are just falling apart left and right and you don’t have the strength to hold it together anymore? When it seems like everything is just too much and you want to give up?

Yeah, me too. Just this week there were days where I looked at Matthew and said “Everything just feels too heavy and too hard. It’s too much.” There have been days where I’ve prayed and days where I don’t even know what to pray.

All that to say. Psalm 46 felt so timely for us to read this week. It’s a chapter that I just want to read over and over and over again. It’s a passage to cling to for hope and encouragement.

“God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

That first sentence: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Just reading it aloud I find I am able to slow down my breathing a little bit. This first sentence is the anchor of the next few verses. No matter what happens, this is true. God is our refuge and our strength, and He is near. This is the reason we don’t need to fear in trials or waver in difficulty, because HE is our refuge and strength. Our dwelling place of safety.

“THEREFORE. We will not fear.” Even if the most sure and steady thing in our world crumbles…we are secure because God is the foundation of the world. The very essence of all strength and stability. Even if the mountains shake. Even if the earth’s very foundation crumbles, we can be confident that the Lord will remain secure.

“Let the worst come to the worst, the child of God should never give way to mistrust; since God remaineth faithful there can be no danger to His cause or His people” – C. H. Spurgeon

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

In a beautiful way…being in Christ does not shelter us from life’s difficulties. He is not a protector or a refuge from the bad things in life. Instead he is a refuge and strength during the trials of life. Trials will come. That is sure. But we have a steady and sure anchor of hope and strength. We have a God who is near in the midst of those trials.

Yes, the Lord promises to be a refuge and a place of safety. The Lord promises to protect us. But we are not protected as in a high fortress, surrounded by comforts and kept safe from the fight below. No, we are in the fight. Surrounded on every side by the enemy, but God is our refuge and strength. Our protector and our safety in that.

As I meditated on these verses, I was overcome by a deep sense of gratitude for the difficulties and struggles of life. Because I can truly say that it is in those moments of despair, darkness, and even depression, that the Lord has become so vital to me. It was (and is) in those moments that I realize the necessity and beauty of the Lord. It’s then that I realize that He is truly enough.

“Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
 I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

“Be still and know that I am God.” Cease striving and know. Stop. Rest. And know God. This is an invitation into intimate knowledge of who God is, the same God who proclaimed His identity to Moses in Exodus 3. Eternally existing. Steadfast in love and compassion and kindness and grace. This command to “be still and know” isn’t an encouragement to passivity. It’s not a stopping of all your efforts. Instead it is a challenge to stop trusting in your efforts and instead to know and trust in God.

“The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress.” Emmanuel. God with us. Take heart in the fact that the Lord Most High is with you. He is more present than your closest friend or family. He is continually near and always with you. Know Him. Trust Him.

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