As I’ve viewed images of the devastation in Las Vegas I’ve grieved for those who, in an instant, lost their life. One moment they were listening to Jason Aldean, the next they were lying dead in a pool of their own blood. The carnage took 59 lives. Today the husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends of each victim are crushed by grief.
Can anyone watch such horror and not ask, Where is God?
As I contemplated that question my mind turned to Psalm 46. This song was penned for the voices of women or children–the most vulnerable among us. The psalmist noted that in horrific times, God is our refuge and strength (v. 1). The word for refuge speaks of a place of protection. In Psalm 104:8 we find that the cliffs are a refuge for rock badgers. When hunted by hawks, the cliffs provide the badger with a place of safety.
But the furry creature must run to his place of safety. The psalmist tells us God is an “ever-present help.” Wherever disaster hits, God is at our side. We don’t need to run far or search for him. He’s closer than our shadow.
The psalmist describes terrible and terrifying destruction (2-3). He speaks of an earthquake so horrible the continents change their shape and mountains slip into the sea—could this be a massive tsunami which covers the mountains? Or, do the mountains crumble, torn down by an earthquake? We don’t know. But the terror of the disaster is so great the mountains shake with fear.
In the face of such horror, “God is our refuge and strength.” He will be there to help us. That’s why the psalmist tells us we have nothing to fear. His presence doesn’t guarantee the gunman’s bullet will miss us, or someone we love. But it does mean in the face of destruction: God is with us.