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Psalm 46: A Prayer of Faith

July 22, 2021
By Paul Emmel
Psalms/Now Book
Although reprinted in 2003, this hugely popular book of paraphrased Psalms is no longer available. Its message encourages people to think anew about the psalms and realize the timeless meaning they hold for believers.


Our great God is still our Refuge and Strength.
He knows our problems and fears.
Thus we have no business doubting Him
even though the earth is convulsed in tragedy
by ethnic hatred, disease,
drugs, crime and abuse.
God continues to reign as all-wise
and as almighty as ever.
His eternal plan is not canceled out
by the whims of human leaders
or the freakish accidents of nature.
Nations will destroy each other.
Civilizations will perish.
The earth itself may one day become
a smoking cinder
but God will not leave us.
He is our sure Refuge and Strength.
Just look around you; read the pages of history.
Refresh your flagging spirit with the reminder
of His great feats throughout the ages.
And you will again hear Him speak and remember
that "I am still your God.
I still hold the reins of this world."
God is here among us.
He continues to be our Refuge and Strength.

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My Commentary: "Faith in Today's World"

The role of faith is still a hot topic. On July 16, Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper readers wrote about "To keep going, keep the faith". One observed that "All the faith in the world doesn't give us immunity from sorrow, illness and being in the wrong place at the wrong time". True enough.

Another reader wrote: "Secularists replace religious faith with naturalism, rationalism and empiricism. I think if you ask any secularist, you will hear that they work quite well." 

Oh, really? That's not the world I live in.

Still another secular writer stated, "Faith does not play an enormous or any role in our lives for many of us. We prepare and plan and then can comfortably trust that we've increased the probabilities in our favor. But succeeding in life requires constant preparation and study to develop trust in your abilities and a keen understanding of the environment you have to deal with, not faith."

To which I respond, " How's that working for you?  Good luck with trusting in your abilities and research!"

 Life has taught me not to trust in my abilities but to trust in my God who continues to be my Refuge and Strength. I can relax because He holds ultimate control of this old world. Most convincingly, He has demonstrated His involvement in His world by sending His Son to live, suffer, die and rise again to defeat the worst that life can bring.

It's true that "faith soothes but doesn't protect." Any honest believer will tell you that. However, in our deepest suffering Christ enters even deeper with us to give us peace, power and purpose.

It is also true that every soul must trust in something whether it's our innate abilities or a power greater than us.  As for me and my house, I choose to trust in an unfathomable God who will always be my Refuge and Strength whatever happens. And, I have no doubt about that.

Paul Emmel

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
July 18, 2021

Psalm 46 from Psalms/Now by Leslie F. Brandt (Concordia: Reprinted 2003).


Paul EmmelPaul Emmel is a retired pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, having served as a parish pastor, a correctional chaplain for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and a hospital chaplain and a community counselor. As a retired pastor, Paul continues to serve the Lord and His people, including establishing the Minnesota South District’s “Pastors to Prisoners” ministry.