"Both Refuge and Strength"
November 18, 2017
Psalm 46:1-2 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
The last line of T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men says, "This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but a whimper."
Eliot may be a pretty good wordsmith, but he probably wasn't much of a prophet -- at least according to the researchers from Arizona State University who have been keeping track of the supervolcano which exists under Yellowstone National Park.
Various recent findings have surprised them. Amongst the new, shocking bits of information are
1. they thought the changes in temperature necessary before a Yellowstone explosion might take centuries; they have seen these changes take place in decades;
2. the earth sitting above this supervolcano has begun to bulge; in fact, it has gone up ten inches in seven years;
3. they thought it would take a long time to fill the reservoir which fuels Yellowstone's eruption. Now they believe that reservoir can fill quickly, and that reservoir is two and a half times larger than they had thought.
So, what does this all mean to an average Joe or Jane?
If their mathematics are correct, the Yellowstone volcano could launch 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash into the atmosphere. (Think 2,500 Mount St. Helen's volcanoes going off together.) They believe all this ash would cover the United States and issue in a volcanic winter which would endanger life.
How's that for depressing?
Well, my friends, the truth is, the Bible does talk a lot about earthquakes and such.
When Jesus was speaking about things to come He said, "There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven" (Luke 21:11). By the Lord's inspiration, Isaiah prophesied: "Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of His fierce anger" (Isaiah 13:13).
Now the important thing to remember when you read about volcanoes and earthquakes in the paper or in the Bible is this: God is in control. He is always in control. How did the Psalmist say it: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea."
Truly, the Lord who has sent His Son to save us is not going to leave us or forsake us. We are His children and He will always -- because of the Savior's sacrifice -- do what is right and best for us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we praise Your Name for being an ever-present help in troublesome times. May others learn the joy of knowing You and what it means to have such a God. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Yaron Steinbuch for the New York Post on October 13, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries