Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our Refuge and Strength

The world continues to be in shock and fear as events around the world unfold before us by the minute through news channels and social media. Japan faces a tragedy unequaled in the country’s history after it was hit by an 8.9 earthquake last March 11, followed minutes later by a tsunami that destroyed areas on the east coast, particularly Sendai. As an aftermath, Japan is now under threat of radiation after separate fires broke out in the Fukushima nuclear plant. On the other side of the globe, other life-threatening events are also taking place, as pro-Qaddafi forces and rebels wage a civil war and Bahrain, on the other hand, tries to quell protests that has gone violent.

Where do we turn for comfort and safety during this time? How do we make sense of all that is happening?

I make it a habit to read everyday even a small portion of the Scripture, not only to guide me as I make daily decisions, but also to find comfort in light of what’s happening around me. I admit, I do not find all the answers I need and want to know in the Bible. But as I read, I gain a perspective that enlightens me.

This day, March 17, the verse to be read listed in my daily Bible reading guide is Psalm 46. As I read, I realized how fitting the words of the psalmist are. Let me share with you a contemporary rendering of Psalm 46 written by Leslie F. Brandt way back in 1973 in his book PSALMS/NOW.

Our great God is still our Refuge and Strength;

He is ever aware of our problems and fears.

Thus we have no business doubting Him,

Even though the earth is convulsed in tragedy

or its human masses are threatened

by nuclear annihilation.

God continues to reign as all-wise

and as almighty as ever.

His eternal plan is not canceled

by the whims of men

or the freakish accidents of nature.

Nations will destroy each other;

civilizations will perish;

the earth itself may one day become

a smoking cinder, but God will not leave us.

He is forever our sure Refuge and Strength.

Just look about you; read the pages of history.

Refresh your flagging spirits with the reminder

of His great feats throughout the ages.

And you will again hear Him speaking:

“Relax, stop fretting, and

Remember that I am still Your God;

I still hold the reins on this world of yours.”

God is here among us;

He continues to be our Refuge and Strength.

During these troubled times, we can turn to God for He alone can save us. To quote Cindy Hess Kasper in Our Daily Bread, “When we experience tragedy, we may wonder about God’s goodness. Is God always good? Yes, He is. He doesn’t promise that bad things will never happen to us, but He does promise to be “our refuge and strength”.

Most of all, we must remember that God’s plan for us does not only cover our life here on this fragile earth but even life after death. This is an opportune time to think about our mortality and God’s offer of eternity with Him.

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