Twenty-four-hour news—do you want to turn the world off sometimes, retreat from news inundation? By clicking a remote, turning a dial, or logging on to the Internet, you can receive news—good and bad—from daybreak to daybreak. If you find yourself bloated by news and anxious, where do you go for comfort?
Anthony Ash wrote, "It has been said that somewhere in the Psalms can be found a reflection of virtually every religious experience known to man, and the person familiar with the Psalter can find balm for every wound." Mr. Ash admits that this statement may not be strictly true. However, it does reflect high regard for Bible psalms from those who experience kinship with the authors’ woes.
The Book of Psalms is a blend of theology, worship and daily living. One of my favorite psalms is the 46th and begins with these words, "God is our refuge and strength, and ever present help in trouble."
In the stanzas, this psalm recognizes three trouble-areas: natural disasters, political upheaval and battle fatigue. The third stanza identifies war and battle fatigue as wearisome, and a good word from the Lord is embedded there, "Be still, and know that I am God."
At first, quieting self in turmoil may seem a daunting request. But, it’s doable because God is the master of lightening in a storm and the calm that follows. He can scrub striving and straining out of hearts and replace them with serenity and trust.
If you need a refreshing break from news overload, take a long drink from the Psalms. Choose from over 150 or read them all. They motivate. In 1529, the 46th psalm inspired Martin Luther to write the words and music to a well known hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
When technology brings repetitious disasters to our doorsteps, it’s easy to lose sight of God-in-control. Like a spring loaded clock, the world ticks to God’s timetable. He remembers yesterday, he is present in the moment you are breathing in, and he will be in tomorrow. He knows what is happening and the psalmists praise his generous involvement.
Does news rankle and irk and un-tuck your feathers? "Be still, and know that I am God" isn't a take-it-or-leave-it suggestion. If God’s instructions are followed, he uncorks calm and pours peace into lives.
Some folks read one Psalm a day, and go through the Psalter several times a year. To experience God, read and heed. Read about the human experience, and heed God’s care in Psalms.
If you have a favorite psalm it may be in your memory. It's a good place to tuck away words from the Lord, words that can help one be still and remember that God is God.
What is your favorite psalm?