Wednesday of Christ the King – Psalm 46

God 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.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

There is a spot on the street between the parsonage and the church office of my first parish. I can see it clearly in my recollection. We were going through a terrible time, or perhaps I should say I was going through a terrible time. I was on the board of a small Lutheran high school which was being tested by accusations leveled against the principal. The ramifications of these accusations could have closed the school, costing teachers and staff their jobs. I was young and not really able to navigate those storms very well. Anxiety was welling up in me and threatened to overwhelm me.

When my foot stepped on that place in the middle of that street between my house and my office that day, I heard a clear voice in my head. It was simply quoting Ephesians 2:8-9. I had been so focused on my response to this issue that I had forgotten whose kingdom I served and who was really in charge. Salvation came by His grace, not my works. Whatever happened, happened. I would do my best and God would bear the responsibility for His kingdom.

David imagines two scenes in this wonderful psalm. The first scene is one of chaos and destruction. The seas roar, the mountains tremble, kingdoms totter, and the earth melts. But David contemplates another scene as well, a peaceful river flowing within the city of God. That city is not moved or shaken. God is within the city and the people are at peace.

That day ended much better than it began for me. I slept well that night for the first time in weeks. All was in God’s hands. I was called to serve and do what I could, but it was in His gracious hands, not mine. There is a river that flows peaceably through the many people who make up the city of God. It is the river of life. We draw our strength and our joy from His living water. We weathered the storm of those accusations at that time. The school remained open for some time longer, although later it closed. God was doing something else and, in its time, He brought it to an end. 

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