God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Troubles will come in this life, of that we can be sure. How sweet then is the assurance that God is our refuge? When the flood threatens, when the night is darkest, retreat in blessed certitude and holy confidence that God is our fortress, our protection from the raging storm. The psalmist lifts our hearts and calms our fears, for not only is God our refuge, but our strength as well. Therefore, our predicament is never hopeless, for we place our hope in the God who cannot fail. We hide not in weakness, but strength, surrounded by the presence of our Heavenly Father. In the very moment when trouble finds us, He is there.
I am reminded of the classic hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Martin Luther penned this beautiful hymn circa 1529 during a time of great personal turmoil. Translated into scores of different languages from the original German, “Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott”, Luther’s words have encouraged Christians for hundreds of years. They still stand true today.
A mighty fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever!
May the words of the psalmist impart to us great courage, and may the words of this hymn resound in our hearts ever reminding us that “A Mighty Fortress is Our God!” Amen.
By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel