Shelter from the Storm

Jessica Bratt Carle

Read: Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength. (v. 1)

Some phrases in this psalm resonate with what I often hear from people when they recount the story of the loss of a loved one. “It felt like the earth was giving way,” they’ll say, or like their world “came crashing down.” Like mountains being swallowed by the sea. Indeed, when we lose someone who is part of the very landscape of our lives, it can feel as though the earth under us is not firm, as though everything we assumed would be as unchanging as a mountain range has suddenly come undone.

Disorienting changes are only part of the psalmist’s song, however. Alongside the tumultuous events are the ongoing promises of God’s presence. A presence so enduring and so trustworthy—even in the midst of great trouble—that we can find solid footing on which to rest.

A friend of mine and her husband lost a baby shortly after birth; as my friend describes what it was like to hold her dying daughter, she says that the sense of God’s presence was almost palpable, even while their anger and sadness and doubts were heavy on their minds. “Be still, and know that I am God,” the psalm also urges (v. 10). We may search for answers and it may take us years or decades to process all that we have been through, but at every moment there persists the invitation to be still, and to know God as a bedrock that shall not be moved. —Jessica Bratt Carle

Prayer: Help us to find our footing in you, and to be still.