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Present in the Storm

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:7

Fire swept through the home of a family of six from our church. Although the father and son survived, the father was still hospitalized while his wife, mother, and two small children were laid to rest. Unfortunately, heartbreaking events like this continue to happen again and again. When they’re replayed, so is the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people? And it doesn’t surprise us that this old question doesn’t have new answers.

Yet the truth that the psalmist puts forth in Psalm 46 has also been replayed and rehearsed and embraced repeatedly. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (v. 1). The conditions described in verses 2–3 are catastrophic—earth and mountains moving and sea waters raging. We shudder when we imagine being in the midst of the stormy conditions poetically pictured here. But sometimes we do find ourselves there—in the swirling throes of a terminal illness, tossed about by a devastating financial crisis, stung and stunned by the deaths of loved ones.

It’s tempting to rationalize that the presence of trouble means the absence of God. But the truth of Scripture counters such notions. “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (vv. 7, 11). He is present when our circumstances are unbearable, and we find comfort in His character: He is good, loving, and trustworthy.

When did a challenge in life cause you to question if God was present? What helped to turn the situation around for you?

Father, help me to trust the truth of Your Word when it’s hard for me to sense Your care or presence.


In Psalm 46, the psalmist writes of the security and stability that God provides in troubled times. Natural disasters (vv. 2–3) and armed conflicts (vv. 6–7) will always be present in this world. Earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, and military conflicts have all caused untold devastation and destruction. But no matter how dire the situation, those who make God their “refuge and strength” (v. 1) “will not fear” (v. 2). The basis for this confidence is declared in verse 7 and repeated in verse 11: “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Based on this psalm, reformer Martin Luther wrote one of his best-known hymns: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Like the psalmist living in an uncertain and insecure world, we are invited to “be still, and know that [He is] God” (v. 10). In confident trust, we echo Luther’s words, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”

K. T. Sim

By |2019-06-18T12:20:00-04:00June 20th, 2019|
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