All of a sudden the world has gone and become a very desperate place.
Here’s the funny thing about people when they get desperate: they start looking for anything they can get their hands on that will bring them security and hope.
That’s why the shelves are empty. That’s why people are reading every article and watching every newscast they can find. That’s why the stock market has tanked. That’s why our country is slowing to a halt.
Life has turned upside down and we are looking for security and hope in any nook and cranny we can find it.
Unfortunately, the ordinary options are slim. Sports is no longer an escape. We can’t gather with our friends or go out to eat like we used to. Everything that we used to turn to when things started to heat up have been stripped away. So we grasp at random and strange things — like toilet paper — to help us feel even a tiny sense of control and hope.
But we know that having a stocked fridge and plenty of TP doesn’t calm our hearts. We sense we are still vulnerable. We need something more substantial.
So, here’s the big question: what do we believe has the most power to offer us the security and hope we are all looking for, especially when we feel more insecure than ever?
I think Psalm 91 is a good place to start. It was written under very similar circumstances to where we find ourselves today — surrounded by fear, disease, and questions about the future and what God will do about it. It’s been a tremendous encouragement to me this past week in my prayers and I think offers us a model for how to handle our faith in times like these.
The psalm begins with its conclusion: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Like an army running into a massive fortress or a bird hiding under its mother’s wing — when it gets bad, we always run to whatever we believe has the greatest ability to save us.
That’s why the author says in verse two: “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” The psalmist is saying this just as much to himself as he is to the Lord. When everyone else around him is grasping for security in things, he wants his heart to remember that the Lord Almighty has the greatest ability to deliver from trouble.
The rest of the Psalm is an explanation of why his trust in the Lord is reasonable.
God sees the faith of this man and, in the final three verses of the psalm, responds to his faith. The Lord says, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Those are powerful promises for desperate hearts. They offer hope in a way that no other thing or person on this earth ever could.
So, as you continue to watch the news and take in all of the change that is happening to our world, don’t forget to regularly remind your heart that he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I’ll be memorizing Psalm 91:1-2 this week so that my heart doesn’t forget to remember where my faith belongs. I hope you’ll join me.