There are many suffering people in our church, just as there are in every church. We are still on this side of Heaven. But sometimes it seems that the suffering comes in waves. There are currently five ladies that I know of in our church fighting cancer, and we just found out about three of them in the last two weeks. Add this to other forms of physical struggles, marriages and parents that need encouragement, a continued weak economy for many workers, and persecution that some feel for following Christ in their families, schools, or jobs, and Jesus’ words feel stronger right now: “In the world you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33)
When you go through times that it feels the earth has fallen out from under you, or just when you are having a bad week, there are two resolves that God wants you to have that I want to remind you of from Psalm 46.
1) We will not fear.
Psalm 46:2 declares, “Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea…” Why, specifically? Verse 1 explains, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Sometimes the cancer goes away. Sometimes the relationship struggle gets better. But sometimes it doesn’t. We will not fear because God is our fortress. There is no better reason to not fear.
2) The LORD of hosts is with us.
In the Psalms, when a theme is at both the beginning and end of a Psalm–and especially if it is in the middle too–that is an important point that the Lord does not want us to miss. God is not just a refuge and strength, He is also a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). Verses 7 and 11 also echo this promise: “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
The reason that we will not fear is exactly because of Who is with us in all of our trouble. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But it gets even better–as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, we are privileged members of the New Covenant. “The LORD of hosts is with us” would have been enough–but you are identified so closely with Christ now that God loves you like He loves Christ (John 17:26)! This assurance would be enough, but the Holy Spirit actually indwells you–yes, lives IN you (1 John 3:24)! The same One who promised, “In the world you will have tribulation,” then assures us: “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
These are resolves that God wants us to have. In our fear, He alone is our fortress–so we will not fear. And His presence is all we need.