Wed Nov 17-You Need Not Fear

Psalm 46:1-3 (NRSV)

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult.


On the night of September 11, 2001, we read this scripture in the church where I was doing my internship. As we gathered for worship, the emotions were so raw and overwhelming to process. But, as confused as I was, I knew one thing: the world had changed.

No longer did Americans feel insulated and protected from the world’s troubles. Now, even within the borders of the US, we suddenly feared for our safety. Citizens of many nations live with the threat of terrorism everyday. But this was something new for us.

This was a change that brought tremendous fear and anxiety along with it. But God spoke into my fear that night through this scripture, saying: “I do not change, so you need not fear.”

There was a deep wisdom in choosing this particular scripture at that time. In a moment of crisis, where the world has shifted, this is exactly what we need to hear: “I can be trusted. I’m the same as I always was. And I’m not going anywhere.”

It’s such a simple message. But it’s so powerful.

You know this from your own life. Maybe there was a time when a parent reminded you of their love after you experienced a major disappointment, setback, or failure. Perhaps a partner said something like this to you after you revealed a part of your history you felt deep shame over. You may have reassured a child with these words, or something like them, when their world was changing and they felt afraid.

When we experience major change, sometimes the only thing that we need to know is that there’s still one solid place for us to stand. And what Psalm 46 reminds us is that, in every season, God is that solid rock that will promises to hold us up, “even though the world should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.”

By Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

Think of times of change and uncertainty you’ve experienced in your life. What got you through those times? What were the touchstones you relied on when everything else seemed unstable? Give God thanks for those things, places and people today.

Prayer: Unchanging, Eternal God: we fear change because it disrupts us in ways that feel uncomfortable and scary. Remind us that so long as we have one solid place to stand, we can find our way again. Thank you for being the One we can count on, no matter what. Amen.

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