Psalm and reflection

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm reflection

First and foremost, God is our Creator. And that is something we’re so happy to talk about and to reflect on until we have to wrestle with some of the more difficult creations of our world. Most notably, considering all that’s going on, of course Coronavirus comes into our mind. We previously have been so happy to talk about God’s strength and power and might, but in this moment when people are anxious, afraid and ill, it has become so much harder to dwell on.

But the very strange call found within this Psalm is to not be afraid. “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way.” And for many of us, the earth beneath us is giving way, metaphorical mountains are falling
into the heart of the sea, the waters are roaring and the mountains quaking. Our natural world is shouting back at us, moving us and disorientating us, on this mass global scale, and it is not something many of us have had to cope with before.

The Psalmist paints a picture of the City of God, where God dwells. Streams surround her, and though kingdoms around are falling, ‘God is within her, she will not fall’. It is a wonderful reminder that the God who we profess has done so much for us, is indeed still with us.

The Psalmist reminds us of all the Lord has done before, the desolation brought to the earth, the wars that were ceased, the shattering spear. Perhaps it would be beneficial for each of us to take a moment to pause and remember all that God has done. The same God who we talk to now in this context is also the God of healing and peace, who many of us have experienced intimately in our lives.

Amongst all this violence, the Psalmist speaks God’s voice in saying ‘Be still, and know that I am God’. In a time where we do not have many options, enjoy the stillness. For me, when I begin to feel out of control, I get a nervousness or an anxiousness to do, do, do. To busy myself and to distract myself. So this call, though simple, feels so hard to do. To make use of the one ray of light that I have, and to be still with God, and know who He is.

He is still God in coronavirus. He is still God in lockdown. He is still God in the sadness I feel about this time.

And despite how hard it is, we have the call that God will be exalted in the earth. Though it is difficult, there is something beautiful about saying, ‘You are God, and I accept my position.’ I am human and this has never been made more abundantly clear than in this situation where I have absolutely no control.

You are a good and powerful God, even in the midst of this.

The Lord Almighty is with us.

Jen Finamore

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