The Pastor’s Corner – July 2014
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear. Psalm 46: 1-2a
As I begin this day I found myself troubled about the situation we find ourselves in as a nation. We are about to celebrate Independence Day with all the fun activities and fireworks and yet at the same time, Iraq is falling into the hands of barbaric radicals who are executing those they see as enemies and have even gone so far as to publically crucify people to send the message of terror in the strongest way possible. We see the bloodshed, our stomachs turn and then we quickly begin to wonder if the billions of dollars spent on the war in Iraq, the 4500 dead soldiers and the 35,000 wounded was all for naught. As a nation, we find ourselves in a no-win situation and we are left wondering what our government leaders will do. There are no easy answers!
I found myself troubled and in need to listen to my own advice that I have shared with all those who participated in the VBS program at First United Presbyterian, my ‘sending’ church. For five days I portrayed Moses and interacted with both children and adults as we made our way along the “Wilderness Journey.” There was one central theme that was the focus of this VBS program: Trust God! On the Wednesday evening program I shared the story of how God brought plagues upon Egypt that culminated in the ‘angel of death’ passing over the homes of the Israelites how had marked their houses with the blood of a lamb. I began the segment by responding the Malachi’s whiney complaints about the hardships endured in the wilderness by saying to the groups, “Why don’t my people remember how God has cared for us in the past and given us what we need?” “Why don’t my people trust God?”
We live in the present wondering what is going to happen in the Middle East. We fear that the gains made in the stock market will be wiped out when the ‘bubble bursts’ and the market makes it next ‘correction.’ We are anxious about our health, the health care system and how we will be able to afford health care in the days to come. We fear for the future of our children and grandchildren and know that they will never live in the America we ‘boomers’ grew up in where jobs were plentiful and hard work paid off with your employer taking good care of you and appreciating you for what you did. A time when you were recognized as a person and not treated as a commodity. In times like these it can become hard to trust God, but trusting God is our only option for gaining any sense of peace and purpose.
We can find hope in times like these in Psalm 46. It opens with the assurance and statement of fact that God alone is our refuge and strength, and ever present help in times of trouble. Because God is ever-present we need not fear. The second and third stanzas end with the phrase “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” For the psalmist, and for us, the Lord Almighty is our stronghold through the worst of calamities. In times like these we need to heed the words of the psalmist – and the words of Moses as given to the participants at VBS – TRUST GOD!
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46: 11