Monday, July 4, 2022

A Meditation for Turbulent Times

During political unrest, God is our refuge and strength.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3

There are unique days in history that make us feel like the world is caving in around us. When what we once thought so certain and sure starts to tremble and quake, the very ground we stand on suddenly doesn’t seem so solid any more. When the seat of our government is attacked, and the political system we once thought was so secure, seems to fracture, fear begins to overwhelm our hearts and minds. 

Yet in the midst of troubled times, whether they are a result of political unrest, a pandemic, or deep division, we can trust in the fact that God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. We choose to not let fear rule over our hearts, because our peace rests not in political systems, but in the King of Heaven.

God has seen the rise and fall of many kings and nations, and His throne has remained unmoved and firmly established. There is no mob that can disrupt His reign, no protest that can shake His throne, no hatred that can overcome His reign of love. Psalm 29:10 says, “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.” In the Old Testament, flood waters symbolized chaos, and God’s rule and reign over the flood describes beautifully how God reigns over the chaos in our world. Psalm 46:6 goes on to say, “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts.” Just the sound of His voice silences the chaos and overcomes the ones who think they have control and power over what happens in the world.

Many are afraid of what will happen in the next four years, especially if the man you voted for is not sitting in the Oval Office. There is fear of what will happen to religious liberties, or what will happen to the unborn, or what will happen to the sanctity of marriage. But we know that the One who has true power over the world is not the President of the United States. We know that the stability of the kingdom of God does not depend on the Church’s tax-exempt status. So why are we afraid? Why are we grasping for wordly power when resurrection power pulses through our veins? 

Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.” No government has the power to stop the advancement of the kingdom of God. God remains undeterred and unmoved by the events that have transpired over the course of this election and this pandemic. His purposes are the same—that His glory may fill the whole earth, and that all things may be brought under Christ. 

Many take a fatalistic approach to the sovereignty of God, saying “what will be, will be”, and they attempt to ignore the chaos of our world. Trusting in God’s rule and reign does not absolve us from responsibility but rather empowers us to partner with Him through the Spirit to see His kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. God has poured out His Spirit to us so that we might demonstrate to the world what a good and beautiful world looks like under the loving reign of King Jesus. 

It’s a world that is sustained through abundant provision from God and an economy of generosity, rather than a world powered by greed and oppressive economic policies.

It’s a world where diversity is embraced and celebrated because we are all made in His image, rather than a world where hatred, prejudice, and racism blind us to the beauty of those different from us.

It’s a world where justice is done for the poor, the oppressed, the immigrant, the person of color, and the unborn, not a world where those who get justice are determined by political affiliation.

It’s a world where truth is defined by the person of Jesus Christ, not a world where truth is defined by a political power or a personal preference.

It is a world where death does not have the last word, where resurrection and eternal life with Jesus are a reality.

Psalm 46 concludes by saying, 

He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

The Latin translation of “be still” comes from the word vacare, from which we get the English word “vacation.” What this psalm encourages us to do is take a vacation from trying to be god in our world. We need to rest in the fact that God will be exalted in the earth, no matter what happens in the world around us. We can trust in the presence of the Almighty God with us, resting secure in His fortress of love for us.

It’s time for the Church to stop looking for power in the wrong places, but to repent and seek the renewal of the Holy Spirit, the power that comes from on high. It’s time for fear to stop ruling in our hearts. God is advancing His kingdom, with or without us, and it is up to us to decide if we will move forward with Him or not.

This article originally appeared at megangrondin.com.

Megan Grondin
Megan Grondinhttps://www.tku.edu
Megan Grondin is the Registrar and Director of Academic Services at The King's University. She earned her master's degree in theology at Continental Theological Seminary in Belgium.