The Pulse: All Shook Up

I will admit that I slept right through it. Early Wednesday morning, a small earthquake followed by several aftershocks shook up our neighbors between Knoxville and Chattanooga – some of you light sleepers may have even felt the earth shudder in our area. My peaceful slumber remained undisturbed.
Those tremors, however, brought my thoughts back to Psalm 46. The psalmist gets straight to the point: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.” (Psalm 46:1-2)
The first two stanzas of this song draw out the instability of life by highlighting the disasters and conflict that threatened the center of ancient Israel’s national identity: Jerusalem. In the middle of all the disruption and upheaval described in this song, God’s presence brings calm in the middle of chaos: “God is our refuge and strength” (v.1), “God dwells in the city” (v.5), “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us” (v.7, 11).
What has caused disruption or instability in your life? Change always creates disruption. Even positive change, like a new relationship, a move, or a different job can create stress. Negative changes are harder to cope with… health uncertainty, family conflict, or grief and loss. Whether positive, negative, or neutral -disruptions tend to shake us up whether we take the time to notice or not. That’s why Psalm 46 concludes with the command to be still long enough to remember that He is God, and I’m not. (Psalm 46:10)
This time of year, we celebrate the truth that God came here to be with us. And, He is with you in moments of joy as well as when life shakes you to your core. If you are feeling an absence of peace this holiday season or trying to cope with disruption in your life, spend some time with Psalm 46. Identify the source of your chaos and cling to the promise of the Lord’s presence because God came to be with us!
Titus O’Bryant
Teaching & Executive Pastor of Ministries
P.S. Forward this email as an invitation to a friend or pick up a few invitation cards this Sunday to our very special God with Us Christmas services on Sunday, December 23 at 9:15, 11am, 4pm, and 6pm.