Last week, William Brown (one of the Middle School Sunday School teachers) sent me an email containing a letter to the parents within our ministry. While it was written as an encouragement to the parents, I thought it would also be an encouragement to you, our church as a whole.
In this letter William is reflecting upon Psalm 46, a wonderful Psalm full of encouragement for us. William has a fine treatment of the psalm which is encouraging enough on its own. But we should also be encouraged, knowing our students hear from fine teachers such as him every week during Sunday School. It is a true joy to serve alongside such servants. Here is his letter:
I have had the wonderful privilege of getting to know your children over the last couple of months. It has been a joy to come under the leadership of Pastor Trey and work with JB, teaching in the Middle School Sunday School. I am thankful for these men, our elders and our church. What a joy to be part of such a wonderful church family!
Amid the current events surrounding our nation, I just felt a need to share with each and everyone of you. I have already felt the impact of missing our gathering together. I know that this time is very odd, sort of surreal and in its own way, downright challenging. I know it is very easy to get distracted and discouraged during these times. That is why I wanted to share with you and your children what I have been reading through, praying through and meditating on during these difficult times. I pray this will bless your soul, encourage your faith and remind you of the deep, deep love of our Father!
I have been working through Psalm 46, reading and praying through it verse by verse, and I want to share with you what I have learned through this. I encourage you to read the psalm first, before reading on, to prepare your own heart and get a context of what I am sharing.
Right off the bat, we read God is our refuge (shelter) and our strength! Very comforting words indeed. As we look through the first three verses, I believe that the psalmist is encouraging us that although all this chaos is happening (vv. 2—3), though all of this physical chaos is happening all around us, our God, with all of His might, in abundant force, God is there, present and able to help us in our time of need, in our time of trouble! This is the context of why the psalmist starts verse 2 with us not fearing. In times of uncertainty, when our emotions arise with anxiety and confusion and nothing makes sense to our eyes, may we preach to ourselves this truth and be comforted.
Now in case verses 1-3 make it seem like God is far off and only come running when we are in trouble, the Psalmist reminds us He is a personal God, One who is not far off. In verses 4-6, the Psalmist not only reminds us of God’s Sovereignty, but that although everything else gives way, falls apart or crumbles, HE IS NOT MOVED! Then in verse 7, we are encouraged even more by seeing He is imminent, He isn’t far off, He is near, He truly is a very present help, because He is with us. The unmovable God, amid all the chaos, He is comforting, rescuing, helping His people.
After such comforting truth, some much needed reminders, the psalmist then naturally invites us to respond in worship. In verse 8, we are invited to come. That might not seem like much, but in inviting us to “come,” we are called to do something. Specifically, the psalmist is calling us to actively see, to behold the works of our God. It is a reminder that although chaos is ensuing, it is not unfolding apart from the knowledge of God. In fact, we read He is sovereignly ruling over the chaos! It is also an attack on our natural response to react in fear during such uncertain times. So, he calls us, he invites us to see, to look upon, to behold the wonderous works of our Lord! Verse 9 also reminds us that as He wishes, God will put an end to all the chaos, to all the desolation. As the One who is sovereignly ruling the world, all things are under His subjection (cf. Isaiah 45:7).
Coming to verse 10, the Psalmist first calls us to be still. What is in mind here is not a lack of movement, but rather a relaxation from an active withdrawal from or a neglecting the things that are bringing about the anxiety in our lives. It is about trusting in God’s position, not our perspective. For me, this is hard. I tend to see the chaos and see the destruction coming and I want to fix it. I want to stand against it in my own strength instead of pressing into the Lord. The psalmist tells us that it’s when we press into the Lord, that we will know He is God (cf. Jer 9:23—24).
The psalmist concludes the psalm by once again reminding us that we are not alone, that God Himself is with us, as our fortress, our refuge, and our stronghold! Therefore, there is no need to fear regardless of the circumstances!
I pray these words bring comfort to you during this time. We are a blessed church family to be shepherded by the elders we have. I just want to come alongside all of you, to let you know I am praying for each of you. I am already longing for the time when we can meet back together corporately. Until then, just know I am here for each of you. If you or your children need prayer, feel free to reach out to me. I love you all, and may God glorify Himself through us during this season.