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“Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10)

As I write these words, our world is in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic. The words of Psalm 46 appear to ring true in our situation: “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.”

But in the midst of so much fear, God tells us not to be afraid. The reason? “The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” These are the words that inspired Martin Luther to write the famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”

Ours is not the only time that has suffered from widespread illness. In Martin Luther’s day, communities were affected with the black plague, and during an outbreak, people were terrified enough to flee their homes and communities to avoid catching the disease. Luther was asked by a fellow pastor what he would do in this situation. He replied that he would not needlessly expose himself to infection, but would also not avoid helping sick people in need. He concluded, “If God shall wish to take me, He shall surely find me. But I have done what He has expected of me, and so I am not responsible for my own death or the death of others.”

We do well to emulate Luther. We can use the scientific tools that God has given us to look for treatments and vaccines; we can obey the government that God has placed over us; we can take care to limit our potential exposure to illness. But let us not be overcome with fear so that we avoid helping others and neglect our duties toward God and neighbour – even when “the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Instead, let us place our confidence and trust in our Lord, who is “our ever-present help in times of trouble.”

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Kent Dykstra
September 2020