The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. — Psalm 27:1-3
While sitting in my makeshift at-home office on our little balcony in Midtown Manhattan, overlooking still empty streets and processing the maelstrom upon so many of us; including personal loss for our family, our beloved church, our dear co-workers at Christian Union, the city we have grown to love, and the nation teetering in uncertainty, the phrase “holy centrifuge” landed on my mind. A centrifuge is a rapidly spinning machine whose centrifugal force separates liquids and slings things into a new position and even a new physical state. Though the process is painful, it serves a purpose. I believe that God, in His mercy, will no longer allow His Church or this nation to reject Him without great consequence. He may be realigning us for our own sanctification and for a strategic repositioning to bless the nation in this season ahead.
The Psalmist, under pressure and concern for his life, was on the run and frequently displaced. Was this because God had lost sight of David or the ultimate destiny of his life? Quite the contrary. It was the rejections, the lions, the Philistines and their giant, the armies, the threats and displacements, that prepared David to be King. David was not a man of fear, he was a man of valour who responded with courage and confidence in the strength of his God. Sometimes in wisdom, he fled danger and other times he ran into it. David was known as the “man after God’s own heart.” How did David’s heart get conditioned to chase after the King of Kings? Constant were the external forces trying him, pressing him, and squeezing him out from place to place. Do you feel displaced, slung so violently that things are coming apart? Is your faith in the God of your youth being tested? Perhaps, we are in the holy centrifuge and God is making something new.
Take heart, Church. We must refuse and reject fear at every turn. Bend your will to the will of the Good Father that He may have His way with you. Though these times are tumultuous, our God is on the throne and He will set things right! He will no longer allow the mixture of good and evil in society and in the Church such that the two can’t even be discerned as distinct. This pandemic and political storm may be the very thing God is using to realign our hearts and reassign our callings. When all securities and comforts around us fail, if we are careful to turn to the Lord with all of our hearts, we find ourselves in the sweetest place to experience the tender love of the Father. In that place fear cannot exist. We are better positioned in the darkness to learn the brightness of the Light, in danger to learn the relevance of our Salvation, and in the violent shaking, spinning, and squeezing to learn the unsurpassed might of our Stronghold.
“Whom shall I fear?” Hallelujah! It is precisely in times like these that we, the Bride of Christ, learn that we ultimately cannot be touched! When all else is stripped away, we find that our Stronghold still stands! Without a strong storm, one would never know the strength of their structures, without a threatening surge of water, one would never know the strength of the dam. The more our Stronghold is tested, the more we learn of His absolutely unfailing strength and watchcare over His people. Evildoers and adversaries don’t stand a chance against the jealous God of the elect. This passage affirms “it is they who will fall.” As Haman built the gallows for the God-fearing Mordecai, it was those very gallows by which he himself was hanged. God will not be mocked by evildoers, assailants, or even plagues.
Perhaps you have been one of those who has escaped the holy centrifuge. Consider voluntarily asking God to sling all impurities, distractions, false securities out of your life. We are mixed, and we need a holy separation. Disciplines like worship, fasting, and midnight prayer vigils while digging through and meditating on God’s Word can serve the purpose of that voluntary humbling.
Oh Jesus, there is total peace being fully surrendered to Your care. No calamity is a match for You. The greater the storm and the stronger the foe, You are only more victoriously established as our Light, our Salvation, and our Stronghold. Purify Your Bride and ready us for Your glorious return. In the meantime, we throw off fear and chase after You. For better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere.
Karen S. Hetzler
Assistant Ministry Director, Christian Union New York
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