Our Refuge and Strength

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Psalm 46:1-3

I love these words from the Psalms.  They have long been among my favorite verses from the entire Bible.  They gave me the assurance that no matter what troubles this life threw at me, God would be there, walking beside me, providing a safe haven and building me up so that I could withstand the onslaught.  I mean, what could be worse than the earth giving way and the mountains falling into the sea accompanied by storm surges, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes? (You can picture most any disaster movie you’ve ever seen right here!)

About 10 years ago, I had my own disaster movie scenario to deal with.  I was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of breast cancer called Inflamatory Breast Cancer and quickly placed in a beta test group for the disease at MDAnderson.  This cancer grows quickly and presents itself as more of a skin rash than a cancer.  I was told that I was extremely lucky that my doctor recognized that it even was a cancer and sent me to specialists.  Many doctors treated it solely as a rash or immediately performed surgery to remove the breast, both treatments resulting in an inability for the patient to qualify for the treatments that were being tested at the time meeting with some success.  As many know, cancer is not a word that you want to hear coming from a doctor’s mouth about your diagnoses.  I continued to hear other words and phrases that continued to strike fear in our hearts as we walked this journey.  Phrases like ‘less than 1%’, ‘treatment can cause death’, and ‘treatment can cause other forms of cancer’. It truly felt like a tsunami was trying to drag us down each and every day, over and over again.  At a certain point, as wave after wave crashes over you and you are struggling just to come up for air, suddenly the earth quakes and the bottom falls out from under your feet.  It is at this moment that you come to the realization that nothing you can do for yourself will ever save you.  The only way through this is leaning on that ever-present help in times of trouble, our refuge and strength in all things. I had always put my trust in God but I also had spent most of my life relying on my own ability to overcome.  There is nothing like a life and death tsunami to bring you quickly to the realization of just how miniscule your own abilities are compared to the strength of the Lord.  It is a humbling experience to say the least.

Toward the end of this very rich chapter are the words, ‘Be still and know that I am God’. When you are able to reach that place of true humility, when you know that the only thing that can possibly keep you afloat in this world is God, these words take on new meaning.  Be still, ask God for calm, for a place of peace in your heart and know that through any disaster that comes your way He is walking with you.  He is your refuge. He is your strength. He is God.

Tommi Hamilton, Launch Team