Below is an article written for and included in the June 11th edition of the MountainCircut.
The Refuge...is God
by The Rev. Jake Steele
MOUNTAINCIRCUIT JUNE 11, 2016
In pleasure or pain, pause to consider Psalm 46. The passage is powerful: “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (v.7). Often amidst the fever pitch pace of life this affirmation isn’t always apparent, and in the grip of grief, especially, it’s frequently forgotten. In Friday afternoon’s memorial service, the promise was repeatedly proclaimed: “The Lord of hosts is with us.” While it’s one thing to see it written in the Psalm and even say it out loud, it’s another thing to receive it as a gift, and because of Jesus we can.
If one wishes to communicate their commitment to keeping a promise verbally, they’ll often say, “I give you my word.” It’s certainly not a stretch to surmise, but what a comfort it is, particularly in this context, to remember that God is a promise-keeper and Psalm 46 kind of spells it out for any disciple who may have doubts. Some may contend, “Well how do you know God kept God’s promise?” Simple. God gave us God’s Word; the Word made flesh in Immanuel. It’s the Word that John’s gospel states was there in the beginning; the Word that was with God, that was God and who is with us. In Genesis, we recall that God spoke the word and created the world. In Jesus, we affirm that God sent the Word and thereby changed the world forever!
In the throes of grief, we often wrestle with the unquenchable questions that ask, “Why?” In the words of the renowned author, Philip Yancey, we never have to wonder how God feels about us because God gave us a face in Jesus Christ. And the Spirit he promised us is a very present help in a time of trouble. In the weight of grief and loss recite the Psalm, yes; but receive the gift as well: “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Because of that precious promise proclaimed loudly through a vacant cross and an empty tomb, we can—through tear-laden lenses— fix our faces to the future unafraid with the certain assurance that the worst things are never the last things.
Thanks be to God!