Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the LORD.
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
- Psalm 4 (ESV)
Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Danger! The world is falling apart! There are protests and riots in Egypt. New Zealand has been torn apart by an earthquake. Libya is plagued by violence. Even here in the US, protests become more frequent. Elected officials are running away from their vocations.
It doesn’t even stop there. Maybe your own life is falling apart too. You’re stressed about about what comes next in your life. Friends are going through problems that you just can’t seem to fix. Your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you, leaving you feeling worthless and unlovable. There are arguments with your parents, siblings, and friends. Close friends just seem to be growing more distant. School isn’t going as well as you hoped it would. Those who you love are being laid off and can’t find work. Someone you know is going through a divorce or ugly break up. That one sin continues to eat at you. You get caught in the sin that you thought you would be able to get away with. Even when surrounded by a bunch of people, you just feel alone.
Of course, new governments will be set up. Buildings will be rebuilt. Eventually, even the violence and protest will settle down. Your life and future always have a way of working themselves out. You meet new friends to replace those who have walked out of your life. You meet a cute girl or boy who makes you feel worth something again. You are forgiven by family members and friends and you forgive them. Maybe you ace that big test; maybe you don’t.
The Psalmist reminds you that you have hope. You even have peace in a world that is falling apart. You have peace even when things don’t work themselves out. You have a peace that is out of this world and doesn’t rely on you either. That peace is found in the LORD, the God who commands the armies of angels. That same God who sent His only Son to die for you, to forgive you all your sins. That peace, that safety, that the psalmist lies down and sleeps in is unfailing. It was poured over your head at your Baptism. It is delivered into your ears when you hear the Word read and preached by your pastor. That peace is placed into your mouth at the Lord’s Supper. That peace is the peace of Jesus, freely given to you.
Trials and tribulations continually vex us. There is really nothing we can do about it. They don’t go away if we live “our best life, now” – our best is never good enough. We can try our hardest to fix everything, but it never works. But there is one person who is consistently and continually our refuge. That person is Jesus!
You do have peace in the midst of those trials and tribulations, whether you realize it or not. You are baptized, whether you remember your baptism or not. The Lord hears your prayers and your cries unto Him. He makes you dwell in safety, and you lie down in peace and sleep – both at the end of the day and the end of your life.
Earthquakes and volcanos will come. You may even see a time when dogs and cats live together. Through it all, you have a Heavenly Father who loves you and gave His Son for you; that you may lie down and sleep in peace.