(To the director, for the order of Korah, on high notes, a song)
1God is our safe hiding place,
Easy to find when danger strikes.
2We wonâ€™t fear
When the world is broken,
When mountains crash into the sea.
3When roaring waves crash over us,
As mountains shake at the sound.
4There is a river, with streams that make Godâ€™s city glad,
The holy place where lives the Highest God.
5God is there, right in town!
The city wonâ€™t be moved.
Early in the morning,
God will help.
6Nations are troubled!
7YHWH is here with his army.
Our parentsâ€™ God is our high ground.
8Come! See what YHWH has done!
The kinds of places heâ€™s wiped out.
9He stops wars anywhere-now!
He splinters bows and breaks spears!
He burns chariots!
10Calm down. Know that Iâ€™m God.
All nations will know that I am boss.
The world will know that I am in charge.
11YHWH is here with his army.
Our parentsâ€™ God is our high ground. — Psalm 46
This is my own modernized translation of Psalm 46, taken from a blog post I wrote more than a year ago. It’s hard to translate poetry, and it is especially hard to translate popular Psalms. I am guessing that the majority of you will be unhappy with the sound of my modernized translation. If so, go look at the article on translation, and read my other options. That may disturb you even more.
Why do these translations disturb us? I believe it is because we have incorporated this familiar Psalm into our worship and our experience of God. Many of us have had times in our lives when the words of Psalm 46 or one of many other familiar Psalms have been something that we can hold onto. We want to hear it in the same way as we remember it. We want to feel the power not only of the words, but of the way God has used those words before in our own lives. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
Feel free to look up Psalm 46 in your favorite Bible translation, read it, and let the words flow over you. Can you remember those times in your life when â€œBe still and know that I am Godâ€ (the KJV, which is the one I remember) was precisely what you needed to hear, and you did hear it?
My point today is not about Bible translation. I’m just using that point to illustrate an important fact. We each have different ways of getting our focus back, of reminding ourselves that God is present and still sovereign, and that he has things under control. Unless you’re a very exceptional person, there are times when you doubt. Your world is shaken. You’re really, really worried. What do you do then?
All of us pious folks will tell you to just trust in God. He’ll take care of you. But how do you go from the place of worry to the place of trust? That generally isn’t nearly as easy. It’s so frustrating to all the perfect people around you when they see that you just can’t quite â€œget it.â€ They know you know, you know you know, everyone knows, but you just can’t get there.
I have a suggestion. Ask yourself just what it is that you have done before when you felt overwhelmed and worry was taking over. I’m going to assume that you’re in a place of faith this morning, or that at least there have been good times since your last crisis. How did you get back?
For many people, I know, it’s a time of prayer. Often the longer the time of prayer the better. If they can rebuke Satan enough times, and call on God enough times, they will begin to realize that God is still sovereign, and remember their faith and trust in him. Please don’t hear this sarcastically! If you look back in your life and realize that it was in such a time of prayer that you have overcome the times of doubt, fix that in your memory. Then when the next crisis comes, do it!
For me, it’s usually Bible reading or study. I don’t mean that prayer is unimportant, but I’ll come out of those long sessions that help others still uncertain. I have to go back to scriptures, like Psalm 46, and read them for myself, and my speed, appreciating each line. That’s when I hear God speaking to me, and I remember him, and my sense of trust is restored.
There is no formula, and it’s not just about God. We like to make the pious statement that â€œIt’s all about God.â€ But to God, it’s all about YOU. That’s why he sent Jesus to die for YOU. God isn’t having a crisis of trust or faith. He’s fine. He knows his throne is established. So it’s OK for you to have your own needs, your own way of getting your confidence back.
Once you have it, practice it regularly. That’s the way to avoid having a crisis in the first place.