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When the world falls apart

Posted Jul 15, 2017

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Daily Scripture

Psalm 46:1-7

1 God is our refuge and strength,
    a help always near in times of great trouble.
2 That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart,
    when the mountains crumble into the center of the sea,
3 when its waters roar and rage,
    when the mountains shake because of its surging waves. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams gladden God’s city,
    the holiest dwelling of the Most High.
5 God is in that city. It will never crumble.
    God will help it when morning dawns.
6 Nations roar; kingdoms crumble.
    God utters his voice; the earth melts.
7 The LORD of heavenly forces is with us!
    The God of Jacob is our place of safety.

Reflection Questions

Earthquakes and tsunamis, hurricanes and tornados make us painfully aware that what we call “solid ground” can, in fact, fall apart. But most of us feel a much greater daily impact from health problems, broken relationships, financial crises, and tragic deaths. Individual and family “worlds” fall apart regularly. How do we “hold things together” when our world is falling apart? By ourselves, we don’t. That’s why, again and again, even lament psalms turned to this assurance: “God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble.”

  • Verse 4 might sound like a travel guide until we realize that no river flows through the earthly city of Jerusalem. “God’s city” isn’t one limited earthly location—it’s an image of God’s caring for all of God’s people. The river points us back to creation (Genesis 2:10) and forward to God’s ultimate victory (Revelation 22:1-3), as it does in the stained glass window in Resurrection’s Leawood sanctuary (click here to see the window, with the river running through all of the earth’s sacred history). What have you found that helps you let the river of God’s steadfast love pour energy, comfort and power into your life? How can you ground your spiritual life firmly in the world of this psalm, where “God is in that city. It will never crumble” and “God will help… when morning dawns”?

Prayer

Lord God, when my heart fills with joy, please, receive my praise (Psalm 100). When I’m in the darkest valley and my heart breaks, please, be ever near me (Psalm 23). When I’m anxious and afraid, please, protect and cover me with your wings (Psalm 91:1-6). When I stumble, please, forgive and restore (Psalm 51). When I’m angry at your perceived neglect, please, remind me to trust your steadfast love (Psalm 13). Amen.

Family Activity

Pastor Hamilton often says, “The worst thing is never the last thing.” He can say this (and so can we) because of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. As a family, create a collage of hope. Gather magazines, markers, glue, scissors and a piece of poster board. In the magazines, find and cut out pictures that bring hope to your family. Use the markers or crayons to draw pictures and write words that communicate hope. Also, talk about what brings hope to the whole world. Include images and words that represent those. Place your collage of hope in your home where everyone can see it, or give the collage to someone who needs hope. Pray and thank God for your family, and for hope.

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GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides scripture and insights to enhance your journey.

Jeff Kirby

Jeff Kirby

Jeff Kirby serves as the Minister of Discipleship and Men's Ministry at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

Our world is in a mess. Do you remember a time when there were so many wars and rumors of wars? Trouble spots flare up seemingly overnight. Is our greatest threat this week the Middle East or Syria, or is it North Korea or the South China Sea? Is Russia a friend or a foe?

Psalm 46 calls me to place my ultimate trust in God and in God alone:
“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
And the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”

Does this kind of faith really mean my children and grandchildren will always be safe and protected from assault, terror or natural disaster? Am I naïve or overly simplistic when I try to calm my anxiety and fears for my loved ones' well being?   

“Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
The God of Jacob is our fortress.”

I would like to show off and declare that I am a man strong in faith and courage. But the reality is that I really don’t see any good alternatives. Like the disciples when Jesus asked them if they too were going to split and give up as many others were doing at the time. They confessed, “To whom shall we go?” I choose to make a vow of trust in God. I do so because I believe God will remain faithful, even in these dark and  threatening times. (And also, I confess, because I don’t see any other good options.)

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