Debbie, the owner of a housecleaning service, was always searching for more clients to build up her business. On one call she talked with a woman whose response was, “I won’t be able to afford that now; I’m undergoing cancer treatment.” Right then Debbie decided that “no woman undergoing cancer treatment would ever be turned away. They would even be offered a free housecleaning service.” So in 2005 she started a nonprofit organization where companies donated their cleaning services to women battling cancer. One such woman felt a rush of confidence when she came home to a clean house. She said, “For the first time, I actually believed I could beat cancer.”
A feeling of being cared for and supported can help sustain us when we’re facing a challenge. An awareness of God’s presence and support can especially bring hope to encourage our spirit. Psalm 46, a favorite of many people going through trials, reminds us: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” and “Be still, and know that I am God; . . . I will be exalted in the earth. The
Reminding ourselves of God’s promises and His presence with us can be a means to help renew our hearts and give us the courage and confidence to go through hard times.
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Given the dire language of its introduction, this psalm was likely written during a significant crisis. But which crisis? Many scholars believe it occurred during the reign of Hezekiah when the Assyrian army had surrounded Jerusalem. The situation looked dismal for God’s people, but the city had two advantages the Assyrians knew nothing of. Hezekiah had protected the spring of Gihon, located outside the city, by tunneling through stone to the water source. Then he concealed the spring. This life-giving spring may be the inspiration for the line, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God” (Psalm 46:4). Most important, however, the psalmist knew the ultimate source of the city’s safety. Jerusalem enjoyed the presence of the one true God. His miraculous intervention on behalf of the city meant they had only to be still and await His deliverance. He’s the life-sustaining Spring.