“The Lord is good, a haven in a city of distress. He acknowledges those who take refuge in him.”
Nahum 1:7 (Common English Bible)
There are times when God seems to go into hiding. So life is tested. With the imminent approach of Hurricane Irma, this seems one of those times. The next few days will be very similar to when gale force winds arose, and waves crashed against the boat of the disciples (Mark 4:37). The boat was swamped, yet Jesus was in the rear of the boat sleeping on a pillow. Like each of us, the disciples were frightened that they would die. They woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re drowning?” No longer are these words on a page of the Bible. We are experiencing the disciples’ fear.
The difficulty of the disciples – and ours – is that we think that finite men and women can dictate the terms and procedures by which God must govern the universe which God has made. We are unworthy of this attitude and it remains impossible. We are not God nor are God’s thoughts our thoughts. There remains much that we simply cannot understand. These are the times when our faith is stretched and challenged, “Teacher, don’t you care?”
The prophet Nahum has a word for just such a time, “The Lord is good, a haven in a city of distress. He acknowledges those who take refuge in him.” Here, Nahum acknowledges that there will be periods of distress, anxiety, and alarm. God remains good and a haven, a place to take refuge. The storm may churn and rumble and threaten it’s worst. But God remains near. Because you cannot see God is no reason to suppose God is not there. God made both the light and the darkness. God does not come to us with the dawn and slip out when darkness closes in. Darkness and light are both the same to God.
Nahum calls us to trust in the Lord. Certainly, God has granted us the acumen to make wise preparations for the care and safety of our families. We are not helpless. But once we have done what we can, we look to God as a place of refuge, a certain help in our time of need. More, as a community called to be the continuing presence of Jesus in the world, we are called to be alert, eyes wide open, to see opportunities to be useful to God as God seeks to care for those who are weak, vulnerable, and in distress. The apostle Paul states it best, “Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these things to be the way that we live our lives (Ephesians 2:10).