When There Are No Answers
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
When the news of Las Vegas started coming through various news links a mantra went through my head: “Some people shouldn’t own guns; some guns shouldn’t be owned.” The same mantra goes through my head whenever there is one of these tragedies.
Ultimately that mantra is not the answer to these tragedies. I don’t have an answer to so many of these tragedies.
A few days after the Las Vegas tragedy I led a small and brief graveside service for friends of a man who passed away from leukemia a few weeks ago. As I went through the bible passages to share in the worship service, Psalm 46 appeared. This psalm gives me comfort in various situations in my life. It gave me comfort again.
The Psalm, as printed above, can be divided into three parts.
Verses 1-3 deal with the unavoidable fact that we live in a broken and chaotic world. The picture of unstable mountains and unstable seas illustrate this. Yet, amid that brokenness is the stability of God who is a stable presence amid that instability.
Verses 4-7 talks of peace in the middle of that chaos. Again, the stability of God is the picture of peace.
Verses 8-11 talks of stillness amid brokenness. Of interest is verse 10 which reads: “Be still, and know that I am God!”
Most English translation use “Be still” because the literal translation of the word is awkward in English.
The words “Be still” in the original language more literally mean “let it go”. A loose translation would be something like, “Let it go to God and know that God can be trusted”.
I don’t have answers for tragedies like Las Vegas and other places. Whether guns, vans or pressure cookers, it seems these tragedies will continue to take place.
Many of us have our own answers and will work toward preventing these tragedies.
But ultimately for me the words of the psalmist give me hope in this broken world: “Let it go to God and know that God can be trusted”.
Pastor Ricky Adams
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California