“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”
A “Refuge” is a shelter of protection from danger or distress, a place that provides shelter or protection. Throughout scripture God’s people are referred to as “Sojourners” or pilgrims on a journey through this life onto life in eternity with Him in heaven. However, as pilgrims on this journey ourselves, we are not promised that there will not be trials, tests, pain, hardship, uncertainty, danger, or distress. What we see revealed in the psalmists’ writing is who God is in the midst of the difficult, uncertain, and chaotic circumstances or seasons of our journey. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” The psalmist uses strong words to describe our God who is a shelter of protection from and in danger and distress, when it appears to us that the world around us is crumbling beneath our feet, or life as we know it may be forever changing. He is, indeed, our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in times of great anxiety and uncertainty, and our God promises to always be with us in the midst of them.
Regardless of the circumstances we faced last week, yesterday, what we’ll face today, or what we’ll face tomorrow, we can walk in full assurance of faith that God has complete knowledge of each and every detail. In the words of Pastor Johnny Hunt, “Did it every occur to us, that nothing every occurs to God?” What a very fitting question to ask ourselves in times such as these in our world today. When we wonder if God is listening, if He’s seeing our distress, if He’s “on the job standing watch,” – the answer is unequivocally, Yes! God is always on duty, He is our unchanging, ever-present helper, our refuge and strength, even when we think life’s caught us by surprise, the Lord is here to remind us that He is going before us, fighting for us.
Connecting Faith & Life
Father, thank You for the promise that you are our Refuge and Strength, our Ever-present Help in times of trouble, uncertainty, or despair. Please remind us often, every hour of hour day, that You are always “on duty,” never slumbering nor sleeping. You have ultimate control over this world and all that You’ve created. Our lives and our times are in Your hands. May we rest in that truth and hope today. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.” Luke 24:1-8
The women had gone to the tomb of Jesus bringing spices as a sign of love and respect, just as you and I would bring flowers to the grave side of a loved one. However, to their surprise, they were greeted with a “stone rolled away,” an “empty tomb,” and the body of Jesus was nowhere to found. To say the least they were deeply grieved, saddened, and most likely feeling as if their hopes had been ultimately dashed. Suddenly, “two men in clothes that gleamed like lightening stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Next came the very cornerstone message of Christianity and the Resurrection: “He is not here; He has Risen! The angels said, “Remember how He (Jesus) told you, while He was with you in Galilee:’ Then they remembered his words.” The women then rushed from the tomb with excitement to tell the remaining disciples and the others with them of the amazing things they had just witnessed, for their Lord and Savior, Jesus, had done just as He had promised. Jesus had risen from the grave, victorious over death and sin for them, for you, for me, and for all of humanity in demonstration of God’s love. “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Why is the “Resurrection” so important to Christianity and our Faith?
The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the central cornerstone of Christian history and of the Christian Church. Upon the Resurrection of Jesus rests the foundation upon which the church was built. Without it there would be no church, no hope of salvation, and no promise of eternity in Heaven with God. What a hope we have on this very special day of Easter, and for everyday because of what Christ did for us at the Cross. Hallelujah, thank you Jesus, for The Cross!
“He was wounded and crushed because of our sins; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Our greatest hope as we journey through this life is Christ Jesus who was wounded, scarred, and suffered for us. The things of this life that may scar us this side of eternity can be used to help us identify more deeply with our Savior. He knows our hurts and deepest pains; But there is a purpose for those scars He allows to remain.
Song Lyrics: “Scars” by - I Am They
Waking up to a new sunrise, Looking back from the other side
I can see now with open eyes, Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn’t trade it for anything, Because my brokenness brought me to You
And these wounds are a story You’ll use, So I’m thankful for the scars
Because without them, I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are, So forever I’m thankful for the scars
With the strength of Your faithfulness, I’m not who I was before
No, I don’t have to fear anymore.
I can see! I can see! How You delivered me,
In Your hands, In Your feet, I found the VICTORY…
So, I’m thankful for Your scars, Because without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And with my life, I’ll tell of who You are, So I’m thankful for Your scars…
Listen to the full song "Scars" below:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2
This side of heaven there are many things for which we take out “Insurance Policies” such as our homes, vehicles, and even life insurance all in the name of protecting and preserving what is valuable property in case of the occurrence of negative/uncertain events. However, on our journey through this life, what’s needed more than “Insurance” is “Assurance” meaning a definitive statement or set of principles which produce a confident certainty of something happening or that something is undeniably true. As a general practice, if an individual has too many accidents or incidents on his/her car insurance record, the insurance company has a right to drop that individual’s coverage, leaving them ultimately “uninsured.” Conversely, a “Promise of Assurance,” especially as it relates to God’s Word, never ceases to exist, it never changes in form or fashion, rather it continually remains true in its original form, regardless of one’s ever-changing circumstances. God’s assurances for us are always dependable, regardless of our daily, hourly, or moment by moment situation in the midst of the uncertainty of our world.
In Isaiah 43 we find the prophet speaking God’s words of Assurance to the people of Israel during times of difficult trial, suffering, doubt, and uncertainty that they would not be overtaken by the challenging circumstances before them. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flames shall not consume you.” These same assurances can be applied to our lives at this very moment as we continue to face “uncharted waters” within these uncertain times in the history of our lifetimes. There will be times when life feels like a “raging river” or an “all-consuming fire” that is set to overtake us, but the Lord says, “the rivers shall not overwhelm you” and “the flames shall not consume you.” What profound assurances these are on our journey, for on the most difficult of days filled with unforseen challenges, we will need to reach for them. Remember, God assures us, “I will be with you, you will not be overwhelmed, nor will you be consumed, reach out for me, hold onto my promises.”
Connecting Faith & Life
Father, thank You today for Your Word which is full of unchanging promises of assurance for us along life’s journey. We can trust that when life seems like a raging river or an all-consuming fire, You are with us, promising that ultimately we will neither be completely overwhelmed nor consumed by our circumstances. Help us to cling to these assurances by faith, regardless of the uncertainty and chaos of this ever-changing world around us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.