Over the past few days I’ve heard folks lamenting, “I’m not ready for winter.” Yep things are changing from the balmy days of summer, through the crispness of fall, and into the deep freeze of winter. Temperatures that seem to freeze the marrow in the fall will be a welcome heat wave by early spring. Certainly, much of the anxiety concerns the coming battles with cold and snow we may face. I think there is also a little stress caused by the reminder that things change and that some things, like weather, are simply out of our control.
So let’s keep this simple, things change. Weather, employment, the economy, price of fuel, relationships, fads of the day, and children all change. As much as we try to develop habits and traditions to anchor our world, in order to find some semblance of order and control, things will change. Peace and freedom from anxiety are not found by controlling the circumstances and people in our world. The Psalmist wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.” (Psalm 46:1–3, NASB95) Admit it, seeing the Rocky Mountains slip into the sea would be a monumental and foundational change. Not only would it ruin a wonderful vacation destination but it would change the weather, Kansas would suddenly have beachfront property, and who knows what it would mean for California. But even if the world was shaken and changed to that monumental degree we are not to fear because God is our refuge and our strength.
To be honest none of us are “ready for this,” whatever this is. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. We can guess, we can imagine, we can plan, but we don’t know what is around the corner. There is one thing we must know, that Jesus is a “very present help” when trouble comes. He may not answer all of our questions or instantly fix every issue but He is with us. Job probably saw more trouble in one day than any of us can imagine. He lost his business, his fleet camels, and his family in one day. A few days later he lost his health. And he had questions. But when God showed up He didn’t answer Job’s questions. Basically, God’s response can be boiled down to “I’m God, you’re not, I’m here.” Initially, Job relied on his righteousness. In the end, a humbled Job was satisfied to simply be with God. Something will shake your world today, or tomorrow, or the next day. It could be something small or something huge. The point is to put on the winter coat of God’s presence and find our refuge, our strength, and our help.