Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Many years ago when I was experiencing severe depression, I memorized Psalm 46. One day, I was overwhelmed, full of fear and anxiety and darkness and despair, so I went for a walk and recited the psalm.
God is our refuge and strength
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear
though the earth give way,
and the mountains fall into the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging (vv. 1-3).
The poet’s picture of chaos mirrored my life: a rising storm, an earthquake, a threatening tsunami, and waves of the sea pounding the rubble of my life.
But when I looked at the noonday sun, everything was quiet and peaceful, the air fresh and energizing. I stood in surprise, as Psalm 46 gave me its best gift, telling me that my dark feelings were a lie. Life was not hopeless and meaningless and black. God was present, making the sun shine, the sky blue, the grass green. At creation he overcame chaos to create world, and he still holds the universe in his loving hands. Perhaps he would hold me in his hands. Perhaps he would be my refuge and my strength, a very present help in trouble (v. 1).
After describing the depths of chaos, Psalm 46 says,
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy place where the most high dwells.
God is in the midst of her,
She will not be moved (vv. 4-5).
A light went on for me: God wanted to create that stream of gladness in my life. He wanted to shine his light in my dark corners. He wanted to shine a ray of hope into my despair with. He wanted to give me a vision of life bigger and more beautiful than the depression I felt.
God, when the forces of chaos threaten us, when the foundations of our world crumble, when the floods overwhelm us and all seems lost, we ask you to be our refuge and strength. In the 9-11 crisis of our lives, strewn with wreckage from political and social and personal disasters, help us hear your voice over the storm. No waters of chaos can sweep us away; no darkness of disaster can dam your river of gladness. “You are in the midst of us, we will not be moved. You will help us when morning dawns” (v. 5).
We live in the world Psalm 46 describes:
Nations are in an uproar, kingdoms fall,
you lift your voice, the earth melts (v. 6).
Lord, lift your voice above the uproar of nations, above the tumult of waters, above the call of despair.
Make wars cease
to the ends of the earth (v. 9).
Break the fighter planes,
sink the destroyers,
burn the missiles with fire.
O Lord, you say,
Be still and know that I am God (v. 10).
We rest from the chaos in the news, from the chaos of the changing climate, from the chaos of our own hearts. You are lord over the raging nations. You are lord over the blustering politicians. You are Lord over the military-industrial complex. You are Lord over the sickness and violence of our world.
We calm our hearts.
We release our fear.
We breathe in your spirit.
We receive your presence.
The refuge and strength you give is more real than all the world’s sound and fury.
The Lord Almighty is with us,
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.