I have learned—too often the hard way—that God doesn’t “show up” in time of trouble. God is not a genie I conjure from a magic lamp who otherwise sits idly by waiting for my prayerful pleas. God is a very present help (v. 1) in times of trouble because God is very present. Now. At this moment. Always. In fact, in one of the great mysteries and promises of faith, God is present even when God seems utterly absent and deafeningly silent.
In times of stress and distress, I have prayed for God’s help. I have prayed for strength, wisdom, and courage. It is certainly not wrong to pray in such times and in such ways. But, in the words of Tilden Edwards, if prayer is a “mutual presence,” then God hears my cries because God has never been not present. God is ever attuned to my heart.
The encouragement to “Be still and know that I am God!” (v. 10) is the climax to this brief psalm of gratitude and praise. Hebrew for “be still” is literally “let your hands grow slack.” The phrase is derived from the word raphe, meaning “to be weak, to let go, to release.” A fair translation would be, “Drop your weapons of choice and trust that I am your security.”
God and God alone is our security, our help, and our refuge. Our challenge is to drop our well-honed defenses, surrender our self-
reliance, and let go of our pretense of self-sufficiency in order to trust in God’s faithful, abiding presence.
What “weapon of choice” do you need to let go of in order to trust fully in God?
Dear God, I want to claim the promise that you are at every moment my refuge and strength. Amen.