Psalm 46 is a wonderful, comforting Psalm during times like this. I highly encourage you to take a moment to look it up and read it – it’s only eleven verses.
Our Lord God does not abandon us to our troubles. Far from it, He is our “refuge and strength!” Come what may, even the earth itself giving way and mountains falling into the heart of the sea, He is with us. He is our God. He is our protector.
Nations may rage, kingdoms may crumble, but with one Word from our Lord it all goes away. And He is with us, above it all, under it all, in all of it. He is our fortress, our solid-rock castle that defends us from the worst things the devil can throw at us.
Did you know that Psalm 46 was a favorite Psalm of Dr Martin Luther? In his time, Europe was ravaged by periodic, repeated plagues. It was a vicious group of diseases that ultimately killed tens of millions of people over several centuries – some say 30% to 60% of Europe’s population died as a result.
In August of 1527, the bubonic plague returned to Luther’s city of Wittenberg. That same time saw the Turkish (Muslim) forces threatening the German borders, along with threats from Catholic armies, and theological attacks and confusion from all sides. Martin Luther, ever the pastor, wanted to write a hymn of comfort for his people who were suffering from so many things.
His hymn tells a story of the downfall of the devil, who once looked like he had no equal on earth. It looks like the whole world is crumbling around us, and the devil means to take everything we have away from us. Indeed, try as we might, we are powerless against such a wicked enemy. But we have someone who fights for us, someone who has greater power than even the devil himself. Who is it? Jesus Christ. He wins the fight. He wins our war. Therefore, even though the world is full of all kinds of devils who want to kill us, we have no fear because we are protected by our God and Lord. And what of the evil, who was once so strong? Now, through Jesus, one little word can fell him.
Do you know what hymn it is? It is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” And do you know what that one little word is? “Liar.” The devil is a liar. For He cannot take everything from you. He cannot take your life. You, child of God, belong to Jesus. Anything the devil says or does is a lie.
And that goes for this current viral outbreak, too. Nobody knows the future of this virus. The devil wants us to be terrified that we will lose everything. The evil one wants us to despair and give up on things improving. He wants us to worry about our bank accounts, our income. He wants us to be suspicious of everyone around us so that we are cut off and isolated from each other. He wants to think that this is the end of everything.
But he is a liar. You have nothing to worry about! One little word can fell him. For us fights the valiant one, Jesus Christ our Lord, and there’s none other God. He holds the field forever! Let the devil take what he wants. Our victory has already been won; the Kingdom ours remaineth!
Your pastors at Zion are praying for you and for all people as we try to make sense of this situation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or need pastoral care – we’ll all get through this together.