“We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking only to learn that it is God shaking them.” ~ Charles West
Psalm 46:1-3 says, “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.”
This kind of shaking speaks of events that leave us stunned or even traumatized. When life changes in ways that we never imagined. When things happen that we thought never would.
For many people, Psalm 46 sounds a lot like reality. The events of the past two years have been like a continuous earthquake. The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on lives and livelihoods. The world economy has been devastated and commerce is in tatters. Inflation is soaring. Wars and threats of war are raging among nations at the highest level in 70 years. We hear reports of coming food shortages and possible famines, while families struggle to find basic necessities.
Such unprecedented trouble. And it came on us so quickly. It can leave us feeling dazed. It seems like the very earth under our feet has crumbled and our stability and equilibrium are gone.
God promises a refuge – He never says there will be no storms.
In all of this turmoil, we can feel like God is letting things spin out of control. In fact, what we are seeing is exactly under His control.
“What will be the sign of your coming?”
The answer that Jesus gave regarding signs to watch for to herald His return are beginning to sound a lot like the nightly news. The events that He predicted are completely under God's control. His coming will be the ultimate refuge for believers. Until then we are reminded that things here are only temporary. Nothing we build here will last for very long.
“Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven … so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
Shaking reminds us of three things:
1. Everything in this world can be shaken.
All the things that we take for granted give us a sense of comfort and stability – all these can change and even disappear. This shaking shows us that they are not lasting or eternal.
2. We shouldn’t be overly focused on or attached to these earthly things.
God’s material blessings are good things, but we can easily turn them into idols that we put in place of God. We can get so caught up in these things that years pass by without a thought. Waking one day to wonder, where did my life go? Shaking is a wake-up call. It can give us an opportunity to make some hard choices to rightly order our lives once again.
3. We should be supremely focused on and love what cannot be shaken.
“We have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” We have this now! The world doesn’t have this. But we do. And this should be the foundation and center of our lives.
God is our refuge – He cannot be shaken!