Military life is filled with blessings and challenges. It is marked by cycles of transitions, with a continual planting and uprooting of our families as we journey this globe in defense of our nation. Military life with its celebrations and structure also has it share of loss and instability. Whether we are military wives or active duty women, we long to flourish in the midst of it all. Yet on too many days, survival may see to be the most we can hope for. Finding strength to thrive in military life, in every kind of life, has everything to do with discovering and holding onto the true source of strength.
We look for strength in all kinds of places…the good assignment, a favorable situation, healthy family, stable government, a prosperous bank account, and even our own abilities and resources. It is easy to depend on the closest thing for strength and stability, rather than to ground our strength in God. Join me for a deep drink in Psalm 46 as we discover three ways to find your strong in this very moment.
OUR refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
The words of Psalm 46 open with all of the focus on God. Who He is to us.
He is our refuge, our place of safety and security that does not change no matter what is happening around us. God is our strength, and our present, findable help in the troubles and distresses of our lives.
If we do not know He is the one that is for us, the present One, we will look for strength wherever we can find it.
When life as we know it crumbles, God is our source of strength.
We can only discover this by going through the hard things.
The Psalmist begins these words with his focus on God as his strength, rather than getting caught up in the trouble that spins around him. His eyes are on God and not on the problem as he looks to God for his right-now help.
There will always be trouble and there will always be help when we place our confidence in God as our strength.
When our faith is planted firmly in the strong presence of God we can echo the psalmist who writes an anthem of faith.
Step One: Focus on God not fear.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Because God is we can.
Because God is our refuge and strength and very present help, we can stand firm. Therefore we will not fear. Change and trouble will come, life as we know it will change. Power structures and places of stability will slip. Waters will swirl with chaos and conflict, but God will not change.
Strength to stand against fear is grounded in a present focus on God.
When our mountains, the sources of our strength and stability slip away, He is still God. When the turbulence of anxiety and war roars in our hearts, we can refuse to give into fear, because he is our stronghold.
What’s in your blank today? I will not fear, though _________.
You see, this Psalm is not about the problems and the troubles that rise against a soul or a nation. These words are not about the earthquakes and the wars. And they aren’t about our weapons and our strategies for victory.
As a military community of faith, whether we face the front lines with our feet or on our knees, we must understand this. We have to get it, or we will never stand strong in the face of battle.
This psalm is about the strength of God to be our mighty fortress.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
Right in the middle of the clamor of conflict and the rising tide of trouble, these words ring out a song of hope and peace. Right in the middle of the problems and the things that tempt us to give into fear, there is a river of life.
Streams in the desert bring nourishment and life right where it is needed, our parched, dry, empty places.
Water for life and strength for needs…
it is the presence of God within that can make us glad and fill our hearts with strength. Gladness comes with the presence of God, which is water for the weary soul.
The river of God runs right down the middle of us, for in Christ, we are the holy dwelling place of the Most High. In fact, the Hebrew for holy dwelling place is the same word for tabernacle. Immanuel, God with us, right in the midst of us. Right here and right now in this very moment.
This is our stability and strength, our very present help of God in the midst of all our troubles. In the midst points to our inner places, the sources of our thoughts and emotions, and it is here that God dwells.
She will not be moved.
Do you see it? We don’t have to muster up the strength to outlast the enemy or overcome the battle. Not being moved, stability and strength are the result of God’s work within, the streams of grace and favor that fortify our souls. And praise God, gladness isn’t dependent on circumstance. We have living faith for this very moment.
If our joy and strength has its source in God’s presence, it will not matter what happens around us.
Sister, what is your source of joy and strength today? Join me tomorrow for two more steps to finding your strong in this very moment as we continue to reflect on Psalm 46.