@robertkwendt || lead pastor
Growing up, I was often asked what I wanted to be. People always pushed me to dream big dreams, to go after whatever I could dream of, to not hold back. It was as if I was told I could literally do anything I set my mind to. What I wasn't often told was that life would throw challenges my way.
I would lose friends at a very young age. I would lose my dad and best friend unexpectedly. I would get married and now have the life of two instead of one. I would have a kid and now be their sole provider. I would move. I would change jobs. I would buy a house and then have continual maintenance problems.
It is so easy to focus on all that is possible—but what about the storms, the challenges, the realities of life?
As I've began to mature in my walk with God, I've come to realize just how important it is to rely on Him. To lean on God and God alone through both the terrific and the troubling times.
It's in the tough times that we can find comfort by reading Psalm 46. Here are some things to take away from it.
1. god is our refuge & strength in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
In college, I had to study psychology (not my best subject). While taking this class, we talked about the concept of "fight or flight." When placed in stressful situations, we have the human instinct to either fight or run. It didn't take looking to psychology to see this though—we have the 46th psalm. God is our refuge. God is our strength.
God is our refuge who we can run to. He has open arms and wants to look after us. In times of trouble, He anticipates for us to call out to Him. He yearns for us to seek shelter.
God is also our strength. It is God who gives us power and strength. He wants to provide for us and make sure we are equipped.
God is both our refuge (who we can run to) and our strength (who gives us the power we need to fight) in times of trouble (those challenging times that will come our way).
Proverbs 18:10 says, "The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe."
In trouble, run to God.
2. god knows what's happening.
This world is not perfect. It is full of storms (both physical and personal). We will be hurt. We will see hardship.
As much as I wish this was not the case and want to do everything I can to love everyone I meet, we know the world is messed up. In fact, we could even say it seems to be falling apart.
Just talk with someone a couple generations older than you, and you'll get a glimpse into that reality. "The world is not as good as it was in the 'good ol' days.'"
This isn't bewildering to God.
Psalm 46:1-2 says, "Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling."
The Bible does not guarantee that all will be restored, not until Jesus returns again. We must understand that a broken world (right now) is a given.
3. god's kingdom never ends. earthly kingdoms end.
History is a great subject to understand where we have been, where we are at, and where we are going.
Throughout history, powerful earthly kingdoms have fallen.
Hittitite. Assyrian. Egyptian. Roman. Persian. Greek. Aztech. Myan. Ottoman. Ming Dynasty. Mongolian. British.
This list is not nearly exhaustive; but it shows that great empires eventually become artifacts we observe rather than living realities we experience.
The opposite is true with God's kingdom. It has only grown and expanded with time. It does not move.
God's kingdom was experienced in the very beginning with Adam, and it's experienced with us now.
4. be still and know god is god.
Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God."
When we recognize that God is in control, we can be confident. We come to truly know that we are able to withstand whatever is thrown at us.
The world is full of uncertainties. We never know what tomorrow will bring. In fact, storms can pop up in an instant. Yet, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In fact...
God is the only certainty in a world full of uncertainties.
Some words that define uncertainty are "anxiety, worry, doubtfulness." Some words that define certainty are "faith, confidence, sureness."
When the world causes us anxiety, we have certainty in our faith.
When the world brings us worry, we have confidence in God.
When the world causes us to doubt, we have sureness in Jesus.
Be still and know that I am God. Hold onto Psalm 46; it's really what every kid should be taught.
Yes, dream big dreams. Yes, the sky is the limit. Yes, God has great plans for you.
YES, GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH IN TIMES OF TROUBLE.