Meditations for Troubled Times
"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." (Psalm 46:4)
John Owen writes, “It is utterly impossible we should walk before God, unto His glory, or with any real peace, comfort, or satisfaction in our own souls, unless our minds are continually exercised with thoughts of His almighty power.” This is precisely what the Psalmist aims to do in this Psalm. He bids us to see that the city of God is a place of quiet content because God is in the midst of her.
In the verses just prior to this image of peace, however, the situation was just the opposite. It’s as though the world was coming unglued. The mountains had fallen into the heart of the sea. The waters roared and foamed. Everything was unsettled. But then, suddenly in verse 4, the waters are calm. Does this mean all trouble suddenly has ceased? No! In verse 6 the Psalmist mentions the nations raging and the kingdoms tottering.
As we look at our society with competing voices on the pandemic, constant critical political rhetoric, senseless killing, protests, organized attacks, calls for anarchist ideals, businesses closing, and even professional sport, specifically baseball, arguing about money, it may well appear that the mountains are falling and the nations raging.
Yet, in this lack of societal peace, there remains peace for the believer. The presence of God changes everything. His presence, which is life-giving and satisfying, not only steadies the soul, it also causes believers to rejoice. Our God is the fountain of living waters, and he gives us everything we need as calamity continues in the world.
he question for us is, are we focused on the lavish blessings we have in Christ? Do we see, when the rivers of sorrow rise up to sink us, that we have an immovable position? We are more than conquerors even as we suffer in a cursed world. Trouble surrounds us, but our mighty God constantly attends to us. This truth should make your heart sing for joy. Don’t allow this world’s distress to dull your joy. Remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength!
Also remember the Psalmist’s assertion that God will help his city, his people, when the morning dawns. This poetic imagery picks up the idea of the beginning of light after the darkness of night. This metaphor finds physical fulfillment in the sunrise resurrection of Jesus, and there will be another day when the light of Christ will banish the darkness—the moment the last trumpet sounds. Look forward then to that morning ahead. Revel in your spiritual blessings now and crave the fullness ahead for all who love the Lord.
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