March 18 – the coming storm

March 18, 2020 Randy Bushey

~ The Faith Factor, by Randy Bushey

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust’ (Psalm 91:1,2).

Just before writing this post, I took a cursory glance through the headlines.

The words paint a vivid, foreboding image of pessimism and despair, summarizing a global mood: fear, lock-down, social distancing, anxiety, self-isolation, warning, criticism, disaster… 

And we know that the current, unparalleled global health pandemic will almost certainly be followed by a world-wide, deep economic contraction.

This is going to get much worse before it gets better.

And so the inevitable question emerges: where is God during this unprecedented universal crisis?

The Psalmist would undoubtedly give this answer: God is right where He’s always been.

The Almighty One remains in sovereign control of what He’s created.

Furthermore, He is managing the universe in a way that brings about His eternal objectives, determined before the foundation of the world.

The Lord of the Psalmists is not threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nor was He by 9/11, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, or the Holocaust of WW2.

As in each of those traumatic events, the Omnipotent One could have intervened to stop had He chosen to.

He often does.

But, this time, He didn’t.

Which can only mean, that although He never creates evil – either moral or natural – He permits it, using it for His own purposes, His predetermined objectives.

And it’s a good time to remind ourselves that God has not tasked Himself with preserving our comfort or prosperity. Those are gifts from His hand. But His gifts can be removed – again for His eternal purposes.

And so we take comfort in knowing that nothing – absolutely no thing – occurs in our lives outside of His notice, His purpose, and His promise to turn to our ultimate good.

The unknown writer of Psalm 91 understood that.

Jewish tradition links the psalm to Moses, the author of Psalm 90. The Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament identifies the psalm as coming from the pen of David.

I suspect the anonymity is intentional. It is the cry of every person who authentically loves God during the dark night of the soul.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,   
my God, in whom I trust’ (Psalm 91:1,2).

Takeaway: we are invited to find peace and protection – the Hebrew concept of shalom – in the key words of this psalm’s opening lines: shelter, rest, refuge, fortress. 

The Spirit equips the people of Christ to be prepared for the inevitably coming tempest with confidence, trust, joy, and shalom – characteristics that will radiate in stark contrast to the darkening world around us.

Will you be so identified?

~graphic by Hana Erel,