And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.
1 Samuel 17:47
In 1927 the Great Mississippi Flood occurred bringing with it destruction, desolation despair, and heartbreakingly, even death. The Mississippi River broke out of its levee system in 145 places flooding 27,000 square miles and killing 246 people in seven states. Just think about the emotional and psychological impact on the people who witnessed the devastation. At the time the Army Corp of Engineers was charged with building a better levee system that would withstand any future floods. The flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in United States history until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Perhaps you can remember what that was like. It was shocking in every sense of the word. More than 80 years later, American engineers are still trying to find the perfect levee that will withstand such devastating force.
Life, as we know it today seems like a constant struggle to conquer faltering levees that fail to protect us against all kinds of floods. We are constantly confronted with financial, social, emotional, mental, physical and spiritual levees that crumble around us leaving us vulnerable to the menacing floods of our time. It seems as though the more we shore up, the stronger the currents get. Many people are anxious, confused and helpless as they constantly chase after a perfect solution to the problems they face. Could it be that there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves? Could it be that there are no perfect solutions; that perhaps there are things only an Almighty God can solve? In spite of our best efforts to stem life’s many tides, havoc rules our world and the foundations of our lives continue to tremble and quake increasing our uncertainty concerning the future.
The Psalmist experienced similar struggles and after much wrestling realizes, sometimes the best thing we can do is to be still in him and know that he is God. The psalmist realizes that the notion that we are in control of our lives is a mere illusion. God is the one in control; he always has been, and he always will be. Our efforts to conquer these floods cannot be done without his guidance and help. His voice alone can calm any raging storm and it is in the stillness that we are able to recognize this truth. Moses stood still and saw God part the waters; Daniel stood still and saw God shut the mouth of the lions; Mary became still and saw the power of God come to fulfilment through her and David stood still and slew Goliath. These heroes of our faith demonstrated to us that sometimes we just need to be still and hide in God, our refuge and strength, because he alone has the power to calm the storms that threaten to overwhelm us.
Perhaps you are facing your very own faltering levees, you have cried and struggled and prayed and sighed and cried again and you are wondering whether there is anything you can do to stem the tide. You are not alone and you are not defeated. Things may look bleak right now but have faith, God is at work behind the scenes. Speaking to his disciples in John 16:33 Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The disciples were about to face challenging times, but Jesus gave them assurance that they were not alone and neither are you. Continue to walk by faith and not by sight and wait on Him. Today you have two choices: to continue struggling and fighting as you’ve always done to find the perfect solution to your problem, or to surrender the burden wholly to him and be still because the battle belongs to him. Choose him.
Dear God, forgive us for times we trusted in our own strength. Help us to put our trust in you, wholly and completely. Teach us to be still so that we may hear you, despite the raging floods. Today we ask that you would comfort those who are overwhelmed by the storms of life. AMEN.