O Thou who dwellest in the light that is unapproachable, while clouds and darkness are round about Thee, we thank Thee that the day is thine, the night also is thine. When deep calleth unto deep, and all thy waves and billows are around us, we recognize the voice of the Lord our God. We know that the sea is his, and that he made it; also that the storm may be changed into a calm, at his command and will. Help us, O God, to acquiescence in every turning of our lot, in the scene that moveth to and fro, in the change which proceedeth from Thyself, and is forever controlled by Thee; and, through all the storms of this world let our whole confidence be in Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This prayer, whose source is unknown, was clearly penned by a sailor or someone with intimate knowledge and experience on the sea. We often rightly use the metaphor of storms to describe the events and circumstances of our lives, though, and as I read this prayer this morning I could not help but feel it completely fitting for the circumstances the world finds herself in today. More than that, this prayer is one of hope and trust in God for a number of reasons...
Creation is God's
Creation is God's, and through wracked by the effects of sin, nothing happens outside of God's knowledge and permission. Though we may not be able to answer the question "Why?" when things are tough (we usually cannot), we take hope from the knowledge that our circumstances are not the result of some endless, chance-based cause-and-effect but are ultimately controlled by a loving God.
God speaks even in scary times
Our Sunday School class spent its entire time last Sunday sharing verses of Scripture that bring comfort, hope, and peace in times of trouble. As the one leading the class, I wasn't sure how this idea would play out, but we ultimately ran out of time to share all the places God speaks to us from his word bringing hope. Turn to his word. Hear him speak. Share it with one another. There is peace there.
Today's situation will change
No circumstance is forever. Hard times may get worse before they get better, but they will get better. They always have. Great depressions end. Wars cease. Famines turn to bounties. Diseases wane. We call it common grace, and we thank God that even in the hardest of times, there is hope for relief, healing, and calmer waters. God's timing may not align with our desires, but we trust that his timing is ultimately best. Like a storm on the sea, the storms of life can change quickly, bringing calm just when we think we can no longer hold on.
Our trust is in God
We ought to be thankful for the organizations, governments, and structures of this world that are in place to deal with our present crisis, and we ought to heed their guidance closely, but our ultimate hope is in God. The words of Psalm 118 should be our own, "The LORD is on my side; I will not fear...It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD, than to put confidence in princes."
Beloved of God, times are tough and, for many of us, will likely get tougher. Fear not. The one who superintends the storm is our Brother, who cares for us, intercedes for us, and holds us in the palm of his hand.
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