“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,” (Psalm 46:1-2)
There’s never a time when God is not present, but his presence often feels more real when we face trials. Why else would the psalmist say, “a very present help in trouble”? Not merely present, but VERY present — especially present, lovingly, unwaveringly present, so that even if the earth begins to give way, either literally or metaphorically, the Lord our God draws even nearer; making sure his children know that he is present.
The hardships of life are real, our whole world has been through more than two years of a pandemic. Presently, hearts everywhere are filled with prayers for the crises in Ukraine. The psalmist uses powerful imagery to describe the troubles he’s seen, and troubles he imagines, such as devastating earthquakes. In verse 6, he paints a vivid picture of nations raging against one another, and against the people of God. And yet, through it all, he writes, God is our refuge and strength, and is very present. He reiterates this in verses 6 and 7:
“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. Selah.”
Even for the children of God life is often more turbulent than we expect it to be. But the presence of suffering and sorrow doesn’t equal an absence of God’s presence. Nor does it not mean we cannot have joy right in the midst of our storms.
Verse 4 of this same Psalm says: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.” God not only guards and delivers us, but he satisfies our hearts. Even when nations “rage,” even when storms come and the earth shakes, even then the presence of God brings joy to the hearts of his children.
Psalm 16:11 says: “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Whatever you might be facing today, make God your refuge and strength, and remember that he is VERY present.