I was reading in Psalm 46 this morning and God began opening my heart to the truth of verses 1 and 2 again. They've been some of my favorite verses ever since GT and the Halo Express helped me memorize them over a decade ago by putting them to music on a cassette tape geared toward children learning to face their fear. How like Him to speak yet again through something that has become so familiar, right?
I've started a log where I scribble down the verses that stand out to me when I'm reading the Word. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will lead me through a particular theme in what seems to be a random trek in the Word. The words that stuck out to me in Psalm 46:2 were "be removed":
"1 God is our refuge and strength,A very present help in trouble.2 Therefore we will not fear,Even though the earth be removed,And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the
sea;" ~Psalm 46:1-2 (my emphasis added)
I went back to the original Hebrew and found that this word is "muwr" which literally translates "to change, exchange, alter." So often I thought the psalmist was speaking of the obliteration of the world, when, in reality, he was speaking of the transient nature of circumstances.
The earth will one day be purged with fire before God descends to establish His heavenly city on the earth and dwell with us, but this is an exchange (His glory for our "reality"), not a termination of the world. What this reiterates, then, is the temporal nature of what seems so concrete to us. Stone walls and circumstances--they are flimsy in comparison to God, our refuge and strength.
Psalm 46:1 says that God is a very present--m@'od matsa'--help when we are distressed. M@'od means: exceedingly, much, might, force, and abundant. Matsa' means: to be found, to be encountered. What does this mean? Simply that, in contrast to our transient circumstances, our God is unchanging and steady, and in our distress, He is waiting to be found and encountered with might and abundance. His Presence is there for us to experience when things are going well, but He shows up excessively when His children are distressed.
I'm learning that the times I feel Him the least are the times He's most present and most active. I've come full-circle in life, and already have shed almost as many tears of gratitude and joy as I did of desolation. When we seek Him, He becomes our exceeding great reward, and the delight when we "find" Him far outweighs the grief of the journey.
Press on, friends. He's worth it.