“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  verse 1

Have you been feeling anxious with all that is going on in our world?  The daily news is less than comforting for sure.  Will we get sick?  When will we get sick?  Is it safe to shop?  Will I lose my job?  How will I pay my rent?

“Therefore we will not fear 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.” verses 2-3

The world has changed,  Almost in the blink of an eye.  At the end of 2019, I had big plans for 2020.  I was opening my own psychiatric practice and becoming a business owner.  I had not had a paycheck since July 2019 as I finished school and prepared to open my practice.  I saw my first patient March 2.  Then coronavirus…

What were your plans?  I am sure they did not involve staying home for lengthy periods of time, going to church online, or sewing and wearing masks.  You may have had plans for a summer vacation, summer job, or visits with far-flung family members.  Maybe you had a graduation you were looking forward to attending or participating in.  I had planned to graduate and I had plans for a small trip.

Recognize the grief you feel.

These are losses.  We cannot change them, but it helps to realize this is part of why you are feeling unsettled.

There are other feelings too.  Every day in my office, I see people who are struggling.  There are many things we could be anxious about and most of my clients already had anxiety in good times.  I am not talking about the kind of anxiety that if they just thought different, or prayed more, would be better.  Most of them have a genetic predisposition to anxiety.  With all the changes we are all now facing, my clients are struggling even more. They truly need medication to help calm their neurotransmitters down.

Almost everyone, even people who have never been anxious, are having more anxiety than ever before.

“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 the morning dawns.” verses 4-5

Take a deep breath.  I literally mean, take a deep breath, right now.  Slow deep breathing increases the oxygen in our blood and tells our brain to calm down.  Now take another deep slow breath.  Can you imagine that river?  A river that makes the city of God glad?  Just thinking of it calms my mind and almost automatically makes me take a deep breath of peace.  And God is there…  What a picture!

The nations rage

“The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.”  verse 6

That verse reminds me of every news cast I have heard in the last several months.  The nations are angry!  Nations are unstable.  The economy is insecure.  Leaders are irrational and scared themselves at times.  The whole situation is volatile.

The Lord is with us.

“The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”  verse 7

The good news I have been reminding myself of throughout the last 3 months is this: God knew this was coming.  He had a plan to get me through this time before I was born!  This coronavirus did not surprise Him like it did most of the world.  He is not sitting on His throne wringing His hands wondering how He will ever help us.  He is not surprised!

He has a plan.

“Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.” verse 8

How has God helped you?  What has He done?  Throughout this pandemic, I have been encouraging those around me to look for the good in this.  No matter how bad your situation is, He has worked some good in somewhere.

Coronavirus was not what I had planned for my first month of practice.  The growth of the practice has slowed to lower than expected growth.  Additionally, I had not wanted to start telehealth visits because it is a whole new level of legal requirements to deal with, more consent forms, more technology, and more expense.  This has been trial by fire for a new business owner.

Where is the good in this?

Yet, I am thankful for the ability to do it.  And now that I’ve been forced over that hurdle, I am able to offer services to anyone in Nebraska.  This is good.  As weird as it sounds, there have been some advantages personally and professionally to this situation.  However, I am not saying I like it or that all has been good.

I am praising God for how He is going to get me through this.  I praise God that if/when I and my family get sick, He already has a plan for that too.  I pray He adjusts the timing to a manageable time.  I pray we do not get very sick.  I pray His will is done in this.

Look for God’s hand.

“He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.”  verse 9

God is still on His throne.  He is still in charge, even though the leaders of the world think they are.  We know things will get worse before they get better, but He has promised to never leave us.  (Hebrews 13:5)  It may look like the whole world is going to war, but He is in control.

Be still and know that I am God.

“Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  verse 10

If you are like me, you may be looking at the news cycle wondering where God is in all this.  Sometimes it seems like not only is satan running the show, but he is being exalted by everyone.

This verse tells us to “be still”, be calm.  Be calm.  In the midst of this chaos and uncertainty, BE STILL and calm, knowing the He is God.

When you are feeling anxious, take a deep and acknowledge that He is God.  He is going to be the winner.  He will be exalted in the whole world.

Trust that He is God.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”  verse 11  (Psalm 46:1-11 ESV)