The Presence of God

1-ZqV7HmAVmhaMqfglSzYbWAGod 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. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved. God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter, he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

– Psalm 46

What an amazing grace it is that God would look on terrible sinners like you and I and bestow the gifts of provision and protection on us. Amidst a world full of evil, rage, and tottering, we know our foundation is firm and that we have nothing to fear. Though we are certain to face trials of many kinds, we know that we are ultimately saved from Death’s faltering grip.

But it is perhaps even more amazing that not only are we protected and cared for, but that God is present with us. Other religions don’t work because they are built on the assumption that we have to climb the ladder to the Deity to earn our salvation. Christianity says something different. It says that God knows such a ladder is too difficult for us to climb in our inability, and that God doesn’t expect us to climb that ladder up to Him. Rather, He comes down to us, most vividly illustrated in the Incarnation, where the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:9). This is not something we have to request God do. He has done it, and He does it even now.

We would have plenty to be thankful for if God merely provided a safe haven. But He goes even further. He resides with us. He takes up His almighty shield and goes before us against the enemy, an enemy we are frightened to face that He finds laughably puny. He extends His open arms to us and invites us into His embrace. He takes watch in the night as we rest. He encourages us. He loves us when we’re cranky. He holds our hand and tells us, “it’s going to be okay.” Like Samwise Gamgee’s faithful, never-failing companionship to Frodo on their journey, our Father is a “very present help.” Truth be told, there is nothing quite like the presence of God expressed in this sweet Psalm.

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