Stronger than the storm

Thunderstorm with lightning above the sea at sunset

This week at our Life Group, we invited everyone to share one of their favourite Psalms, it was a fantastic feast as we read, reflected on and prayed Scripture.  On a side note, I’d encourage you to try doing this in your life/community/home groups sometime.  Anyway, one of the Psalms shared was Psalm 93 which says:

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
    the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
    you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
    the floods have lifted up their voice;
    the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
    mightier than the waves of the sea,
    the Lord on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy;
    holiness befits your house,
    O Lord, for evermore.

We were particularly struck by verse 4 with the thrice repeated “might/mightier”.  The Lord is mighty and strong, he is mightier than the thunderous roar of the ocean, mightier than crashing waves against the sea wall.  He is stronger than the storm.  In our life group, we’ve talked about how these Psalms would have been on the lips of Jesus and I like to think of him, there in the boat, singing these words, just before telling the wind and waves to be still, a reminder of who was really in charge.

Jesus is stronger than the storm.  This speaks not just of the physical tumult but also of the chaos that can descend into our lives in different ways.  During the pandemic, we found ourselves frequently singing this song by Tommy Walker

Verse 1
Our Fathers’ Lord of lords Our Fathers’ King of kings Our God is in control
And He’s never letting go
Chorus 1
Highest praises
For You alone reign Highest praises
You’re the unrivaled God
Verse 2
Our Father won the war Our Father conquered death perfect are His ways
He’ll always be the same
Chorus 2
Highest praises
For You alone reign Highest praises
On our knees we bow
To You alone to You alone to You alone
He’s stronger than the darkness in Him there’s only light He’s stronger than all sickness there’s healing in His hands He’s stronger than addiction He sets the captives free He’s stronger than depression His joy is our strength

That song could well be a paraphrase of Psalm 93.  Notice that it picks up on God being stronger than the darkness we face. It includes sickness in this and specifically mentions depression.  I wonder if the writers even have  had some experience of this and speak from personal testimony. Certainly it resonated with me at the time as I’d suffered a significant bout of anxiety and depression in the lead up to 2020.

It’s important that we don’t read such lyrics through a prosperity lens as though if we just have enough faith, we can be free from depression. Certainly we should not assume that depression is an evidence of sin or lack of faith. There are many potential causes of depression, yes, sin can be involved but depression can also and more often than not is caused by other factors such as the impact of what others have done to you or an underlying organic medical cause. Sometimes, we simply do not know what has caused the depression. We just know that we are suffering from it. 

But with all that in mind, I find it helpful, through the song and through the Psalm to be reminded that God is mightier than whatever I might face.  Sometimes this means that he stands up to speak to the storm and calm it, sometimes it means that he picks me up and lifts me out of the storm, more often than not, it means that he takes me safely through the storm and teaches me to cling more to him and be holy through the storm.

This week has been Mental Health Awareness Week and that’s why I’ve chosen to share this particular article. If you are suffering from anxiety and/or depression I’d encourage you to reach out to get help.

There are more resources to do with mental health here on Faithroots via this link.

You may also be interested in Grace in the Depths, a site set up by a few pastors who have experienced depression.

You can also get in touch with me via the contact form below.

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