Earthquakes

by

I don’t often question the ground beneath my feet. I take it for granted. This is one reason why, of course, earthquakes are so terrifying. Perhaps you’ve experienced an earthquake, and you know by experience what I describe. Imagine: the very surface upon which you’re standing—along with all of the buildings, trees, cars, and other objects standing on the same surface—suddenly becomes unstable. The world shifts and convulses. Nothing is safe. If you run inside, a portion of a building may collapse on your head. If you run outside, a chasm may open in the earth, causing you to plummet hundreds of feet. Everything that was once “immovable,” you realize, is exactly the opposite. You realize that the most basic, reliable objects of your everyday life are completely pliable, temporary, and unreliable in the face of such power.

Psalm 46:1–3 describes such a movement of the earth.

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.

The “earth gives way,” the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, and they tremble. Such an earthquake comes with tremendous power. If you’ve ever visited a large mountain range, such as the Rocky Mountains, you know that a mountain is no small object. For the earth to give way, for a mountain to drop into the sea, and for the mountains to tremble—these images call to mind an earthquake of epic proportions. Such a powerful force renders our own powers to cope irrelevant. We stand no chance in the face of such power and chaos.

Maybe you have encountered such a force in your life—your own cancer or the cancer of a loved one. The sudden news of a tragic car accident. The loss of a job. The suicide of a friend or relative. Sudden abandonment. A major mistake. Abuse. Loss. Betrayal. These forces are like epic earthquakes in our hearts.

Psalm 46:2 appends seemingly strange words to its description of what, by all accounts, is an epic earthquake. It says, “Therefore, we will not fear.” How is it possible that we need not fear in the face of such forces? The answer is in v. 1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Therefore, those who trust God need not fear. The Lord is more powerful than the earthquakes and forces of chaos in your life. The Lord is more powerful than your circumstances, your sin, your mistakes, your losses, and your failures—and He uses His power to accomplish salvation for His people despite the sin and miseries of this life. He is our refuge and strength. That is why it says, “we will not fear.”

Christian, take heart, for your God is your refuge and strength. He has not forgotten you, and He never will.

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.