God Is, and the Hope of Spring
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) wrote, “God is and all is well” (qtd. in Bartlett 528). In a time of terror and tragedy, doom and destruction, our spirits need beckoned to a place above the pain and terror where there is hope in the midst of hopelessness; security in the midst of insecurity. Such a place is found in the knowledge of God (Isaiah 26:3). Even the season of Spring can point us upward to a place of peace, tranquility, and cheer, though the drums of war are beating loudly. Robert Browning wrote:
The year’s at the spring
And day’s at the morn . . .
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn:
God’s in his heaven-
All’s right with the world. (qtd. in Bartlett 567)
All’s right with the world? How could one ever suggest such a thing when danger, distress, destruction, and death are all around us? The two words—GOD IS—provide the answer. The Psalmist wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Not only is it the case that God is, but God is (1) refuge, (2) strength, and (3) help. He is our refuge. He is our strength. He is our help (i.e. a very present help). And He is all of this, and more, IN TROUBLE.
Above the deafening sounds of the war drums, and above the gloom of the war clouds, God is. He is in control. It is He who “makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire” (Psalm 46:9). One day the battlefields will be deserted. The bows of war will be broken. God is! “God reigns over the nations. . . . [T]he shields of the earth belong to God; He is greatly exalted” (Psalm 47:8-9).
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). One translation puts it: “Cease striving and know that I am God,” with the marginal note: “Let go, relax” (NASV). It is as if God, as Judge and Arbiter of the world, is saying, “What are all the fret and stir of armies, and captains of armies, and kings and kingdoms, in His sight, who is the Ruler and Judge of all!” (Perowne 384). And such is why we pray to Him in every season—in war and peace. GOD IS! AND SPRING DELCARES IT!
Doctrine and the Do In it (98-99)
Bartlett, John. Familiar Quotations. 1882. 13th ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 1955.
Perowne, J. J. Stewart. Commentary on the Psalms: 2 Volumes in 1.1823-1879. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989.