Who do you run to?
This world can often be an uncertain place. The things that we feel are firm and secure can easily change in an instant and leave us feeling disorientated and fearful. Loved ones can get seriously ill or die, jobs can be lost, political systems can fail, houses can be flooded and destroyed. As Christians we cannot change these realities because they usually arrive without much warning. The important thing for us to consider is what we are to do in these situations. We can do this by asking ourselves the question “Who do we run to when we feel like the world around us is falling apart?”
A good place to look for an answer to this question is Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (vv.1-3)
The Sons of Korah, who wrote this psalm, knew a thing or two about the kinds of devastating situations that can befall us. The earth literally split open and swallowed up their father as punishment for his rebellion towards God. But in his mercy God spared Korah’s children. As a remarkable picture of His redemptive purposes they ended up composing a number of psalms that later became part of Israel’s sacred scriptures. Their psalms are gritty and real reflections on how difficult life can feel. But they also provide great encouragement by pointing the reader back to God.
At the beginning of Psalm 46 the Sons of Korah remind us that in our times of desperation, when the world feels like it is falling apart around us, we should run to God. He is the only one who can provide a place of shelter and give us the strength that will enable us to keep on going. It presents a very radical picture of trust that the believer has in God. This trust believes that there is always refuge to be found in God despite the world around us is seemingly falling into choas.
The imagery used here indicates that this is a significant event. The earth giving way and moutains falling into the sea is meant toindicate a situation that is utterly desperate for most people. But not the person who believes and trusts in God.
The psalmists later describe God as being a fortress (v.7) and tell us that He is in complete control of everything that is going on in the world. His presence with us is all that we need to reassure us that things will work out. A fortress is a place of complete safety and protection. It is a place where no further harm can befall you; a place where you can be refreshed from the battle.
When the troubles of life come upon us it can often feel like we are in a war and it seems like there is no end in sight. But the Sons of Korah tell us that God is the one who ceases all war and ultimately He will be exalted among all the nations of the earth. When we find ourselves in these difficult situations God just asks us to “be still and know that He is God” (v.10).
However, being still in these situations is probably one of the hardest things for us to do. We want to be active either in fighting the battle ourselves or running away to something that we think will provide us with comfort and rest. We want to be doing something that makes the problem disappear.
But God just tells us to be still and rest in Him. He tells us that we need to acknowledge who He is and trust Him that he will do what is right. When we are in that position we can listen to Him and act accordingly. But only when we have stilled ourselves in his presence.
The psalm ends with a repetition of the phrase “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (v.11). This final point is repeated because it leaves us in no doubt that in times of trouble we need not fear because we have the Lord God Almighty on our side. He is the one who will bring justice and peace in the situation no matter what it is.
So when the world feels like it’s falling apart, when we feel that we cannot go on, we need to remember the truth of this psalm and run to God. No one else can provide us with the refuge and strength that we need in these times. God is the only one who is ever present to encourage and equip us to continue. He is the only one who can provide us with the rest that allows us to be still, leaving Him to take complete control of the situation.