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Walking Our Faith: A psalm for when we are in the midst of a storm

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)

On Wednesday afternoon, I sat in my favorite chair, turned off the TV and the computer, and reached for my Bible.

Honestly, I was just tired. It feels as if we are in a time of reckoning, of momentous change spiritually, culturally and economically.  

It seems to be happening all at once and so very quickly, one wave after another landing on the shores of our country in a relentless storm. Should we have seen it coming? Did we ignore the signs? No matter, it is here.

Worse, we are unable to process one change before another begins. It can feel overwhelming as waves buffet us upward and our feet no longer feel ground beneath us.

In times like this, I have learned that what I need most is quiet time with God. I turn off social media and the news — both too much a part of my life these days. Pausing to focus on the only thing that really matters, which is listening for God’s wisdom in the midst of the storm, especially now.

So I turn to Psalm 107 which I have been listening to on the Dwell app, a brilliant Bible audio app. On one of Dwell’s listening plans, they broke Psalm 107 into two- and three-verse chunks to be memorized each day, so I hadn’t gotten a full overview until Wednesday, when I brought out my Bible and actually read the Psalm.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.

The psalm begins with a proclamation of God’s steadfast love, which might give the impression that it is a psalm of thanksgiving. But it’s more than that. It is a psalm which recounts the troubles that Israel faced, how they called out to God, and God delivered them and demonstrated his steadfast love.

What struck me is that this cry for help came not once but five times in the course of 45 verses. And each time, God answers not just with deliverance but with steadfast love. No sign of impatience. No, “Why didn’t you guys learn your lesson the first time? Why are you calling me again? Why are you so slow to learn, so sinful?”

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.

This psalm is sometimes claimed by those who work on the ocean or as foreshadowing Jesus’ and the disciples’ voyage on an angry Sea of Galilee and Jesus calming the seas. Perhaps for that reason, on the Dwell app, the psalm is illustrated with an anchor.

That anchor is the right symbol for this moment. God’s steadfast love is our anchor during these turbulent times.

So much is shifting. A pandemic that has not released us from its grip, an economy struggling to stand again. And greater still, we are redefining what it means to be an American and live in a country that provides equal footing for all its people.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., the arc of history bends slowly, but it bends toward justice. I believe we are seeing those prophetic words come alive in this moment, but the birthing pains of history often come with fear and uncertainty.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.

So we must fortify ourselves. We must eat healthy foods and get outside and take long walks to reconnect with beauty, and we must try to get enough sleep so that we are rested. We must make a point of being kind to ourselves, and kind to our neighbors.

And most importantly, we must make time each day to find silence. A quiet corner, even if it is just a few minutes before we start our car in the morning to leave for work. We must find a few moments to speak with God, to listen for his voice, to read our Bibles and ask for his wisdom and his direction, not only for ourselves but for our country.

Now we must pray and seek God with all our hearts. And when we falter, as we certainly will, we must remember that in the midst of the turbulent storm, God is our anchor and our steadfast love.

When they are diminished and brought low
through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,

he raises up the needy out of distress,
and makes their families like flocks.

The upright see it and are glad;
and all wickedness stops its mouth.

Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.
(Psalm 107)

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.


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