Today’s news is anything but hopeful. An 8.3 magnitude earthquake rocked Chile last evening; at least 10 massive fires continue to burn in California; the Middle East is a powder keg that could blow at any minute. Refugees from Syria are swarming the cities of Europe looking for safety, Christians are persecuted and maligned. And who would have believed 15 years ago that the U.S. debt would topple $18 trillion. Mind boggling! How is it possible to be joyful, content, at peace, and even hopeful with news like this?
Everything seems out of control. We’ve been taught that we can control our destiny, finances, careers, and even our emotions. But that certainly doesn’t seem to be true. It’s simply impossible to have joy and peace in a world rocking with pain. We cannot depend on our own inner strength or moral fortitude for comfort and strength. If, however, our Source of joy and peace is the God of this universe, we know that everything is in control. The world around us may be shaking, but we can have a peace that astounds the most ardent pessimist.
This peace is not like an ostrich that sticks its head in the sand, ignoring the circumstances. Our peace comes from knowing that God is with us even in our deepest sorrow and pain. As widows, we have proved Him faithful in great loss. The Lord has promised wisdom when we need it (James 1:5), and peace while walking an uncertain path (Psalm 119:165). He will be the protective “husband” (Psalm 68:5, Isaiah 54:4-5).
The apostle Paul said, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Cor. 48-9). Paul didn’t discount his difficult circumstances. Things were difficult and he acknowledged that. But he also realized that God had not left him powerless.
Through our relationship with a powerful God, we can say with the Psalmist, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear … (Psalm 46:1-11).