The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
– Psalm 29:10 (NRSV)
A few months after Hurricane Katrina, I traveled from Maine to Mississippi to offer respite to a pastor serving on the Gulf Coast. I offered to preach for two Sundays and respond to pastoral care concerns in between. I knew how to do those two things, and I really wanted to help but wasn’t handy enough to volunteer for rebuilding.
I pulled out the lectionary calendar to begin considering what I might say. Among the scriptures for those Sundays, I found this psalm, which credits God with all glory and power, and pictures God as the distant creator of all the elements of a storm: flood and wind and lightning and fallen trees. Sometimes metaphor hits uncomfortably close to home. I wondered what I could say about God on a throne, ruling over the flood, to people whose dear ones had died or who lived with blue tarps where a roof should be. Wouldn’t the imagery of a storm be distressing?
As we live through a different kind of storm, one we have been told has the potential to return in a second wave, we may wonder the same. Is the God of storms a troubling picture? Where is God while we bury loved ones or see others struggling to recover from Covid-19?
Is God distant, removed, enthroned above our human troubles?
No. God is not above the troubles we experience but is with us in them and beyond. Even in the storm, God’s power gives us the strength we need. I saw it in the faces of my new friends in Mississippi, and I know I would see it in yours.
Powerful God, you strengthen us, no matter what storms we face in this life. We give you the glory! Amen.