For centuries the psalms have been the beloved prayer book of God’s people. Pious Jews would know all one-hundred fifty of them by memory; medieval monks would recite them all over the course of a week, going over each one fifty-two times a year. The psalms do more than present sound theology for modern humans; they give voice to our deepest feelings and greatest fears.
Psalm 46 is one of the finest pieces of Hebrews poetry you will find. Its message is one of comfort; its God is one who is in control; its prose is simply beautiful. “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 the mountains tremble at its swelling.” The psalms inspire trust in God, and help relieve the chaos that seems to envelop all around us.
It is therefore a small thing to recite this psalm many times, and allow it to become part of memory. Being able to draw from its well in times of trouble and meditate on it can be significant in the heat of a situation. Knowing this psalm intimately is not a shot that inoculates us from difficulty and brings instant deliverance. But it can point us to a faithful and trusted God who knows what he is doing and is always with us, even in the cataclysmic events of our lives.
O God, you are my refuge and my strength. Bolster my faith in all the difficult situations around me so that I might not fear, but trust you. I will be still and wait for your deliverance without trying to orchestrate my own. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.