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In Times of Trouble

"Ko te Atua to tatou piringa, to tatou kaha; he kaiawhina e tino tata ana i nga wa o te he."
 
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."


—Psalm 46:1

 
You may have seen posters with these words written on them in beautiful calligraphy. You might have been tempted to think that these soothing words spring from a place of calm, quiet contemplation.

But look with me at verses two and three. The earth collapses, mountains crash into the ocean, the seas howl and foam, and the mountains are shaken to their cores. Later in the psalm, nations are in uproar and empires fall. Environmental, political, and military chaos grips the earth, consuming entire cities, people, and nations.

Psalm 46:1, therefore, is a bold statement about
who God is, where he is, and what he does in the midst of chaos.
 
The upper North Island this week has been buffeted by a particularly chaotic weather event. Bridges have been swept away, family homes smashed to smithereens, businesses beaten, livelihoods lost. All of this—on top of the inflationary stresses and strains—has brought some people to the breaking point. In the midst of chaos, the Psalmist affirms who God is.

He is our refuge and strength.

Like a thundering Jonah Lomu, with the ball safely tucked under one arm and the other arm out, fending off opposing players, God is our refuge and strength.

He tucks us up and consoles us; he comforts us, and he lets us confide in him. He is the one who fends for us, preserving us, protecting us, and providing for us. In the calamity, the Psalmist recognises: He is the God who is there. 
Ever-present.

In the fears, in the loss, in the arguments that occur when our worlds are chaotically disrupted, he is an ever-present help in trouble. He is real help for real trouble... rental trouble, mortgage trouble, marriage trouble, trouble at work and at home.

It has been a privilege to witness how God was, in a very real sense, a help in troubled times this week. We have seen his love and presence on display through the love and support of churches for families facing flooded homes and destroyed business,. 

In these chaotic times, it is good to remember:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.



 

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