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A Very Present Help

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He 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.

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Psalm 46

God knows more about tsunamis than anyone else. Not only that. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. God Himself is our safe refuge and dwelling place. God is for us as a place to which we can flee for safety. He is also a present source of strength in times of trouble.

The Hebraic word for refuge is machaceh (Strong OT:4268). It means, literally or figuratively, a shelter. Its root word is chacah (Strong OT:2620), which means, literally, to flee for protection or figuratively, to confide in.

In times of tsunamis, we must take shelter and flee up to a higher ground such as a hill, a lofty wall, a high tower, a fort or a fortress. In Psalm 61:2-4, the psalmist prayed:

From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

When we are in danger, God is our refuge. He is our strong tower! When we are defenseless, God is our strength. We will trust in the shelter of His wings. God is very present with us! He will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He is omnipresent! He is as close as the mention of His name. Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth (Psalm 124:8). Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever (Psalm 125:1).

There is something we can learn about tsunamis from the Bible:

From Psalm 46:2-3

About Tsunamis

Even though the earth be removed

Tsunami is a Japanese word that translates as "harbour wave."

It is not strictly speaking a "tidal wave," which describes the periodic movement of water associated with the rise and fall of the tides.

Oceanographers call tsunamis seismic sea waves because they are usually caused by a sudden rise or fall of part of the earth's crust under or near the ocean.

Less powerful tsunami waves can also be triggered by volcanic activity. They are most common in the Pacific Ocean.

And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea

A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of waves that can travel across the ocean at speeds of more than 800 km (500 miles) an hour.

In the deep ocean, hundreds of miles can separate wave crests; many people have lost their lives during tsunamis after returning home thinking the waves had stopped.

Though its waters roar and be troubled

As the tsunami enters the shallows of coastlines in its path, its velocity slows but its height increases tremendously.

A tsunami that is just a few centimetres or metres high from trough to crest can rear up to heights of 30 to 50 metres as it hits the shore, striking with devastating and destructive force.

For those on shore, there is little warning of an approaching tsunami. The first indication is often a sharp swell, not unlike an ordinary storm swell.

Though the mountains shake with its swelling

In 1883, a tsunami following the eruption of Krakatoa volcano between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra killed 36,000. The tsunami's passage was traced as far away as Panama.

In July 1998, two undersea quakes measuring 7.0 created three tsunamis that killed at least 2,100 near the town of Aitape on the north coast of Papua New Guinea.

The current death toll from the great earthquake in Indonesia and resultant tsunamis hitting much of Asia's coastline has risen to 39,946 people, government officials and media from the affected countries said. Officials warned the figure could rise to almost 57,000.

Our human capacity to comfort those who need comforting is very limited. Could we truly understand, know and empathize with those whose lives had been totally devastated by the earthquake and tsunamis? Could we dry the tears of those parents whose babies or children were wiped away by the killer waves? What could we say to those who were in total distress and disadvantage? Our efforts and words are truly limited.

But there is One who truly understands, knows and empathizes. Jesus had gone through much pains, sufferings and even death itself. He is in the midst of all their helplessness and hopelessness, pains, wails and cries. He is omnipresent! He is everywhere! He sees. He can feel the heartbreaking pains in their hearts. He knows the innermost sufferings in their hearts, and is able to fathom all their grief, providing comfort and healing. Jesus is with them in the midst of the earthquake and tsunamis!

God is the unfailing source of consolation, like an ever-flowing river of peace and love! Even when the nations raged, and the kingdoms were moved, He remains unshakeable! He is our sure Foundation! He is the Solid Rock of our salvation. Therefore, we have nothing to fear. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil for He is with us; His rod and His staff comfort us (Psalm 23:4).

Truly we have nothing to fear. It is our duty to calmly confide in Him, and leave the whole issue with Him. Be still and know that He is God! Even when the waves roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging. We will hide in Him! We will still trust in Him! We will move up to higher ground!

Meanwhile, if our hearts were touched by the Spirit, let's love our neighbours by showing them our care and concern! It is time to reach out and touch them with the love of Christ by helping them to rebuild their homes and communities, and to restore sanity and calmness. Sometimes just being there with them is already good enough. Love transcends any spoken words. It is the language of God to humanity.

Below is some past history of earthquakes:

World's Strongest Earthquakes In The Last Century






May 22, 1960




The earthquake struck Santiago and Concepcion, rendering some 2 million people homeless.

Mar 28, 1964




Felt over a large area of Alaska and in parts of western Yukon Territory and British Columbia, Canada, the quake resulted in about $311 million in property loss.

Mar 9, 1957




On Umnak Island, Mount Vsevidof erupted after being dormant for 200 years, generating a 15-metre high tsunami that continued to Hawaii.

Dec 26, 2004


Still undetermined


The quake triggered a tsunami that has killed tens of thousands in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and India.

Nov 4, 1952


No lives lost


Ensuing tsunami struck the Hawaiian islands.

Jan 31, 1906


Up to 1,000


The quake was felt all along the coast of Central America and as far north as San Francisco and west to Japan.

Feb 4, 1965




The quake generated a tsunami reported to be about 10.7 metres high on Shemya Island.

Aug 15, 1950




2,000 homes, temples and mosques were destroyed in a quake. Hardest hit was the Brahmaputra Basin in northeast India.

Feb 3, 1923




Feb 1, 1938





World's Deadliest Earthquakes






Jan 23, 1556

China, Shansi



Jul 27, 1976

China, Tangshan



Estimated death toll as high as 655,000.

Aug 9, 1138

Syria, Aleppo


May 22, 1927

China, near Xining



Large fractures.


Iran, Damghan


Dec 16, 1920

China, Gansu



Major fractures, landslides.


Iran, Ardabil


Sep 1, 1923

Japan, Kwanto



Great Tokyo fire.

Oct 5, 1948




Dec 28, 1908

Italy, Messina

70,000 to 100,000


Deaths from earthquake and tsunami.

Sep, 1290

China, Chihli


Nov, 1667

Azerbaijan, Shemakha


Nov 18, 1727

Iran, Tabriz


Nov 1, 1755

Portugal, Lisbon



Great tsunami.

Dec 25, 1932

China, Gansu



May 31, 1970




$530,000 damage, great rockslide, floods.


Turkey, Silicia


Jan 11, 1693

Italy, Sicily


May 30, 1935

Pakistan, Quetta

30,000 to 60,000


Quetta almost completely destroyed.

Feb 4, 1783

Italy, Calabria


Jun 20, 1990

Iran, Gilan




Dec 26, 2004

Off Sumatra West Coast

Still undetermined


Dec 26, 2003

Iran, Bam



In our times of many earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorism, hurricanes and tornadoes etc., may we:

Climb every mountain
Scale every height

In the midst of troubles

We will know where to hide

Climb every mountain
Seeking the LORD
Bringing praise and worship

As we enter His fort

As we live and move up higher

We will bring others along
With every ounce of our strength

At every beat of our hearts


Written on:
28 December 2004