Within the past week to ten days, brothers and sisters in California have experienced a terrible earthquake and the terrifying aftershocks. The damages could have been much worse had the earthquake hit a more populated area. One minute all seems stable and the next moment the flooring or ground beneath you was shaking. Can you imagine how terrifying that was if you were driving and not knowing where cracks in the pavement might enlarge enough to entrap you in your vehicle? Can you imagine seeking refuge from cans, jars, etc. flying off shelves? It must have been very distressing as walls buckled and as roofs began caving in.
From Psalm 46, it would seem that the psalmist had experienced living through an earthquake. He writes,
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Earth changing, mountains shaking, waters roaring and foaming … yes, that is a very apt description of what may happen on earth during an earthquake.
Then the psalmist describes the peacefulness that exists in the presence of God. Streams make glad the city. God is unshakeable. God speaks and conflicts cease. God makes wars cease. God destroys weapons. Amid chaos, God’s people are urged to be still and know that God is God. God is with us in the storms of life. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. and those who learn to be still and know that God is God, can envision the peaceful home we may one day occupy.
O God, we pray for all those who have lived through earthquakes and we especially pray for those in California as they are anxious and as they struggle to put things back together. Watch over them and keep them in Your loving care. When storms of life come, help us to remember that You are our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.