"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea."
So says Psalm 46.
This week, it feels as though the earthquakes have come. The flying dust of sorrow rises up from our own crumbling mountains.
In the midst of planning a new series launch for Sunday called "30 Days To Live" - posing the question, "What would you do if you only had 30 days to live?" - we find ourselves walking alongside two families who have suffered devastating losses. For them, our rhetorical question has a deeper meaning.
Monday night a family of five lost their home to a house fire. Sparked by a heat lamp set up for a puppy in the garage, they are faced with the loss of their home and almost all of their earthly belongings.
This morning, one of our friends and church family members lost her life in a fire in her home. Her three daughters are suffering, along with her grandchildren and countless others who knew and loved her.
Overwhelming loss. And yet God declares that He is our refuge. He is there to help.
The challenge, sometimes, is in crawling over the rubble of rocks to find a place in His arms.
Later, in that same Psalm, He says, "Be still and know that I am God."
Sometimes I fear the sadness that will well up in me when I get to that place of stillness. It seems easier somehow to stay busy. My first, reflexive reaction to grief is to run, to get away, to avoid it, to bury it - even in the midst of sharing information, comforting others and praying. This scripture tonight reminds me that God ties together the tragedy of life with a call to stillness.
Something in me fears that. And yet, I know that there is no other direction, no other refuge.
I would appreciate your prayers for our community.