Psalm 46: A Coronavirus Devotional

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God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. 
– Psalm 46:1-3

Have you ever been caught in an unexpected downpour of rain? This happened to me one summer evening as I was walking back to my car after dinner with some friends. Without any rain gear or an umbrella, we were totally exposed to this sudden rainstorm. When we finally got to the car, we were overcome with a sense of relief – we had found refuge, a place of protection and security. Every inch of our body was soaked through, but we were safe.

Right now, the world feels like we are caught in an unexpected summer shower (or perhaps an unexpected hurricane). We feel exposed, vulnerable, unsure of where we are truly safe. For most of us, this fear of exposure to disease is a new sensation; we have never faced the reality of an invisible virus that could be lurking around any corner. Normal life activities that once seemed mundane – like running errands or being with our friends – now might make us feel anxious and insecure.

Psalm 46 reminds us that we have a hope in Jesus as our refuge, a place we can run to for protection from life’s unexpected and scary moments. Even when we feel totally exposed—like being caught in a summer shower without an umbrella—we have a very present refuge in Jesus. Later in the psalm, the psalmist describes Jesus as a fortress, indicating that Jesus is strong enough to protect us from the fiercest of our enemies. Yet there is also a great tenderness about our refuge in Jesus: His presence is not only strong, but safe and comforting, like burying yourself the warmth of your bed on a cold evening.

Unlike an umbrella that might blow away with the wind, Jesus is a refuge that can never be moved. Because He is the God of the universe, the One who “upholds the universe by the word of his power,” we have the assurance that running to Jesus for refuge is the safest place we could ever be (Hebrews 1:3). And because we are united to Jesus by faith, we don’t have to run far to find shelter—we have access to the stronghold of Jesus at all times in all places. As we live in these uncertain times, let us fix our eyes on where our truest safety is found: our refuge Jesus Christ. Psalm 46 reminds us that when we feel unsafe, scared, or unprotected, we can run to Jesus and rest in the presence of His perfect protection. We can take refuge in His Word, ask Him to be our shelter in prayer, and remind ourselves—as well as our family in Christ—that God is the best place to find our sense of peace and security.

Psalm 46 ends with a charge to “be still, and know that I am God.” What a comfort! Taking refuge in God, our fortress, means we can rest, be still, and know that He is God. We are praying this over your community today as we all gather for refuge in the shelter of our strong and comforting God.

Reflection Questions:

  • Where are some places you typically run for refuge when you are feeling scared or anxious? Your phone? A friend? Burying yourself in school work? How is God a far more secure shelter than the other places we look for refuge?
  • When was the last time you felt afraid or unprotected and you found refuge in God? How did God end up protecting you?
  • What is the place of your life that feels the most unprotected or unstable right now? How can you run to God and take shelter in Him today?
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