This week, we take an opportunity to listen to the words of the Psalmist. I encourage you to reread this Psalm aloud, slowly reciting the words and concentrating on the heart of the message.
When you read this Psalm, you cannot help but to be overwhelmed by the confidence in God displayed in these words. Even when the world appears to be physically crumbling or in the face of wars and violence–we know that God is God. Nothing can change who God is, but we are changed by the knowledge of God.
Verse 1-2a give us particular meaning and emphasis for our ongoing discussion of the topic of Hope. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…”
Fear is a dangerous thing. It causes people to do things that they might not normally do. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the other. Fear of the worst of the worst. And so much more. Fear is crippling and it ruins human flourishing. But when God is present, we know that there is possibility of hope, and when we rely on God, that is when strength comes forth.
Last week, John Mark and myself had the opportunity to travel to Mississippi to visit and learn about various Civil Rights sites. While we were there, our emphasis was to look upon these places and the events that transpired there through the lens of faith. How is it that we could do such a poor job of learning to love one another? One potential answer–fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the other. Fear of the worst of the worst.
One location we visited was the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. While we were there, one quote stood out to me:
This quote reminds us that the way of Jesus and how we live in the world ought to be built on the foundation of love. When we are built on the foundation of love, we can live under laws which do the same and we can challenge non-violently those that are not. And we are reminded that love, perfect love, casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
May we live in love, cast out fear, and do so in the knowledge that Psalm 46 reminds us of–that God is God.