Times of Trouble

Scripture Reading:
Psalm 46:1: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

This psalm was written to be sung as a celebration of the security of Jerusalem as the city of God. This psalm, and also psalms 47 and 48, is an expression of confidence in the security of God’s people in the midst of a world that threatens their well-being.

Martin Luther also used Psalm 46 as the inspiration of his great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” The beautiful words to this hymn, written five hundred years ago, still have incredible meaning for us today. It is a reminder that we can continue to find refuge and strength in God in the midst of all the daily troubles that we face. As Christians we are not spared from daily troubles and worries and trials, we know that we will encounter many of those things. We are promised however, that God will be there for us and that He gives us hope, as we face the many struggles of life.

Luther’s hymn also brings images of the evil one that will “threaten to undo us.” “His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.” These stanzas remind us of our “ancient foe”, the devil who relentlessly strives to bring us down. We have all felt the attacks of the evil one as he strikes out at us when we are at our weakest point. He is there to tempt us into sin and to cause us to lose hope. As the words to this hymn remind us, he is a formidable enemy.

We don’t like to talk much about the evil one in our church life today. Many people feel uncomfortable at the very mention of the devil. However, if you read the bible, you will find that the evil one is very real, and that he is constantly looking for ways to make God’s people stumble. But the words to this hymn remind us that we can withstand his onslaught and that in the end he is doomed, God’s truth will win out.

We must realize however, that we can’t overcome these attacks on our own strength; we must turn to the mighty fortress that is our God. Only in God can we find the resolve to stand firm when faced with the many temptations and trials that come our way. Many times we learn this lesson the hard way, after we attempt to handle difficulties in our own way, without God’s help. It is only by relying upon God that we can overcome life’s trials.

This hymn and Psalm 46 are reminders that, when we are faced with whatever life and the evil one brings our way, we can turn to God, who is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in times of trouble. The next to the last verse in this psalm is verse ten and is says: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

God is with you, stand firm and put your trust and faith in God. His strength is too powerful for the evil that is present in our world. The good news is that God will be victorious and His kingdom will reign forever. The last verse of Luther’s hymn reminds us that, “God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.”

I know that many of you today have worries and you are faced with many difficult decisions that are bringing you down. It’s very easy to get depressed and to give up hope when you encounter the many demands of everyday life. And it’s also very easy to focus on your problems and to forget that God is there to bring you through these challenging times. So as you pray and as you read God’s word, be still and listen for God, an ever-present help in time of trouble.

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