Mar 19, 2020

Reflections on: There is a River

Today marked Day 4 of students being home; likely Day 4 of people working from home (maybe longer); Day 4 of no access to the mall or restaurants; about a week of no sports (how’s everyone holding up?)… and yet in the midst of this Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic, there is a River.
This past Sunday, Pastor Mitchel took us to Psalm 46. We are shifting a bit in the Sunday teachings to really focus on who we are, who God is, and how we are to live in response to these truths and in the reality of what is taking place right now. 
So who is God? Psalm 46 is clear: 
God is our refuge, our strength, and our ever-present help in times of trouble. (v1) 
If there’s a takeaway from a time such as this (and I think there are quite a few), it is that we are humbly reminded of how fragile we are. Life as we know it has completely turned upside down, all from a tiny (but big) virus. And the Scriptures are not immune to real trouble; there is real-world suffering there too. (v2-3)
And in the midst of this suffering, there is a river. What is this river? The very presence of God. (v4-5)

This is when we remember and recognize our Lord as the only source of hope, refuge, and strength. It’s not in a vaccine, it’s not in our savings account, it’s not in the amount of supplies we were able to stock up on. It’s in Him, and Him alone. 

He is our protector and our provider. 

There is a notable tension in this Psalm – the tension between hardship and God’s goodness; the tension of hope and confidence in the God of angel armies with the reality of wars and nations raging… and viruses. (v6)

And yet, the invitation from the psalmist is: “Come, behold the works of the Lord.” Behold His power. He can stop war. He can stop the virus. Is this the God you believe in today? (v7-8) 

There are so many people that don’t know this God. Instead, many are used to surviving off of shallow, finite wells (aka false gods). The wells of job security, wealth, access, education, social standing, medical technologies, etc., but these wells are drying up. Thankfully, “there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.” (v 4) 

The psalmist concludes with a pretty clear and direct command – “BE STILL and know that I am God.” We need to return our eyes and hearts to Him. 

So, how can we live this out?

  • Worship. Remember where our hope lies. When you rise in the morning, bow your knee before God. Recognize that we are powerless and He is all-powerful. 
  • Be Still. And know that He is God. Stop your striving, trying to control the situation and be our own gods. Meditate and memorize Psalm 46:1.
  • Get to Work. There are many needs rising up around us, with many people in need of hope and love. We have a mission and it is all the more important to not shrink back. Yes, social distance at this time is wise; spiritual distance is dangerous. Let’s lean in and get to work, loving one another

We have a Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. God is not sterilized from the suffering and the crises, but walks with us through it. Our faith calls us to do our best in the name of the justice and righteousness of God, and to not just do it from a stoic distance, safely sanitized from the pain. We take seriously the assurance that the God of angel armies is with us, that He is our fortress, and that no matter what the surrounding climate should bring, there is a river, and it will not dry up. 

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