How to Cope When I Know God Reigns…But it Doesn’t Always Seem Like It

Sometimes it seems like the world has lost its mind, like enemies of everything good and holy are advancing their agendas with little opposition. Unthinkable violence fills the world, making it hard to believe that evil isn’t winning. Closer to home, we stress over the choices our children are making, we fret over the results of the election if the candidates will keep their promises, and we worry about the results of yesterday’s MRI.

Where will that next big storm hit? Will Social Security be solvent when I need it? What about the federal deficit?

There’s probably something troubling your heart today.

When those times come—when fear and doubt creep into our hearts—it should comfort us to know that there’s Someone who transcends the ups and downs of our volatile, sin-ridden world.

It might sound like a cliché, but it shouldn’t—God, the Sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe, is in control. He’s God today, he’ll be God tomorrow, and he’s be God over the election, after the MRI, and after retirement.

The exact historical situation eludes us, but the poet behind Psalm 46 must’ve been experiencing something similar to what we see around us. His poetic language describes times of great uncertainty and fear, and maybe sometimes the conditions of our own hearts: “. . . though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (Psalm 46:2b-3).

Do you ever feel like that? Has it ever seemed like the earth is giving way beneath you, like your world is so tumultuous that mountains are falling into the sea?

What then? Where do we turn?

So many of the world’s promises are inadequate in times like these. A big bank account won’t bring certainty, and neither will a big job, a big name, or a big house.

But a big God will.

The poet preceded his vivid description of chaos with these words: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear . . .” (46:1-2a).

This God is trustworthy and stable: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire” (46:4-9).

In other words, he’s sovereign, and he’s in control. There’s no instability in him, no uncertainty, no faltering. Sometimes we look at the chaos and uncertainty around us, and we’re tempted to take our eyes off of God’s throne. We allow the condition of our hearts to be determined by the nature of what’s happening around us.

But God speaks to us in the middle of the storms: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (46:10).

Be still, he says. Know that I am God.

Take your eyes off of the storm. Don’t look at the chaos. Fall to your knees and be still in God’s presence.

Rest in him. Look at him. Trust in him. Lean on him.

He’s the God who divides the seas, calms the storms, and walks on water. He’s the God who heals the sick and raises the dead. He’s the God who enthrones and dethrones the nations’ kings. He’s the God who speaks, and what is not comes to be.

That God—the omnipotent, sovereign, and loving God—is the God who knows your name and inscribes it on the palm of his hand.

So whatever troubles you, whatever kept you awake last night, whatever causes your anxiety . . . he knows about it. And he cares.

Be still, he says. Know that I am God.

“The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (46:11).

About Chuck Webster

Chuck was born and raised in Alabama, and—except for a short stint in Tennessee—he’s been here all of his life. He’s the son of two wonderful Christian parents and the younger brother to two God-loving sisters. In 1990 God brought Melony into his life, they were married in 1992, and she’s blessed him ever since. They are the proud parents of four children: Bailey (22), Grant (20), Logan (18), and Griffin (15). Chuck has served three churches as Preaching Minister since 1995, and most recently he’s been with the Hoover Church of Christ since 2004. He has degrees in Math (B.S.), Speech (M.A.), and Theology (M.Div.), and he’s currently working on his Doctor of Ministry at Beeson Divinity School. In addition to his local ministry, he has gone on eleven short-term mission trips to New Zealand, Myanmar, Guyana, and Tanzania. He teaches as an adjunct instructor of Religious Studies for Faulkner University’s Birmingham campus and enjoys speaking at different churches on various biblical topics. Besides family and ministry, Chuck enjoys reading, writing, and various sports. Sometimes he gets serious about running to stay in shape, and sometimes he gets serious about not running at all.

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