"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." - Psalm 46:1, NIV
"Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'” - Psalm 46:8-10, NIV
I've always liked the "God is our refuge and strength" and "Be still and know that I am God" parts of this Psalm. The verses are calming, something I can focus on when I'm feeling overwhelmed. They're among the earliest verses I learned in Sunday school, and I've always held them in my heart.
Tonight, though, I looked at verses 8-10. In verse 8, God has "done" these things. He has devastated areas, depopulating them, bringing desolation. What? This doesn't make sense! In verse 9 God seems to be on the right side of things again, ending wars all over the earth. But look at how he does it! There's nothing calming or peaceful about breaking bows, shattering spears, and burning shields (or possibly chariots)! This isn't the God I think of when I'm resting in the quiet of verse 10.
I think the quiet of verse 10 isn't the God I like to envision, holding me and soothing me after a rough day at work. This is the sudden, tense quiet after a crash, a storm, or a battle. God has actively destroyed the tools of war! Hear the snaps as not just thin arrows but heavy bows are broken! See the flames devour the shields and chariots! Now...
...there is quiet. But God tells us in that anxious quiet that he's in charge here and that he will be exalted. Oh, yes, he will.