Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SHAKEN TO THE CORE


God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3, NIV)

I urge you to read Psalm 46 in its entirety before going any further.

Not believing in coincidence, I find it a powerful meditation that I read this psalm when a horrific 7.0 earthquake flattened the nation of Haiti. Suffering, shock, desperation and hopelessness leave these poor victims of circumstance wondering how life will go on. Life has changed abruptly and forever. The anguished look in the eyes of survivors cry out for help.

On a smaller scale, each parent of a child with special needs has experienced their own "earthquake". With their world turned upside down at diagnosis, families are shaken to their core, left with many of the same emotions as victims of natural disasters. Glad to be alive, yet wondering which end is up, parents are often initially "paralyzed" in shock. Mourning over a life that will never be as they had hoped, parents are in need of comfort and help. A crisis of faith occurs, and adjustments need to be made. A new course of action needs to be taken.

How does a human soul ever turn such stress, such tragedy into an occasion for God to be glorified? Simply put, that soul trusts and obeys.

God graciously builds our trust by providing us with His Word. In that Word, we see over and over again promises made and kept. He proves Himself trustworthy.

When we trust, we acknowledge all that we are not and all that God is. We are not in control. He is. We are weak and vulnerable. He is strong and sovereign. We may be unaware. Yet, He is ever present, never sleeping on the job. And when we admit He is worthy of our trust in the midst of crises, we calm ourselves a bit and strengthen all who see us.

God's grace comes into play with obedience as well. It can be much easier to obey someone who proves themselves trustworthy. (Of course, some of us are so stubborn, we'll rarely obey.) And when we fail in the obedience department, He gives us countless "do-overs".

When we obey, God promises His blessings. I often think obedience is really a manifestation of the trust we have in our Savior. And to obey, we do need to quiet ourselves and let God be God. (Psalm 46:10) We need to neither be spiteful about our circumstances nor manipulative about outcomes. We need to walk with the comfort of knowing that He has our best at heart.

All this taken into consideration, a quiet inner peace is possible in the midst of the storm. A joy can be present in the midst of heartache, whether by earthquake or illness. And I am greatly encouraged by the knowledge that Jesus is the unique recycler of tragedy. Only He can turn something as ugly as our deepest sorrows into something unimaginably beautiful! If we allow Him, He can turn us into walking, talking, living examples of that.

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