Saturday, August 20, 2016


refuge |ˈrefˌyo͞ojˈrefˌyo͞oZH
nouna condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble
Where do you find shelter?  We all do it.  We get ourselves in a bind or find ourselves in a crisis, and we seek shelter from the storm.  Whether we see the storm clouds rolling in or are caught in a downpour, it is our nature to find safety, to keep dry, to limit the damage. Refuge comes in many shapes and sizes.  Sometimes it looks like a husband. Big, strong, confident - he will be the answer to all my problems.  Other times it looks like a doctor.  Educated, experienced, compassionate - he'll make everything better.  Another refuge comes in a bottle - a medicine bottle, a liquor bottle.  Something to numb the pain, to soften the harshness of this world.  Still others find refuge in relationships - parents, friends, employers, pastors, teachers, judges. People who can make things right.  People who will be fair and trustworthy.  People who are supposed to be safe.So what happens when a refuge fails?  What happens when the roof caves in or the storm is too great for the refuge to bear?  Then what do you do?You do what most of the world does - turn your eyes towards heaven.  It is common for people of all beliefs to cry out to God when all else fails.  Because we have eternity in our hearts - we know there is something out there much bigger than ourselves - during times of trial or struggle, we hope against all hopes that the Something is actually paying attention and willing to step in, willing to heal, willing to be justice when justice is far, willing to stop the pain.  Here's the truth - humanity was not made to bear the weight of being a refuge.  As a mother, I would like to think that my children can find shelter and safety in my care, but I can't solve all their problems.  I can't make the world treat them fairly and I can't build walls around them that are high enough to spare them the struggles of life.  I am not their savior.  Spouses aren't perfect, friends come and go, employers can be unjust, pastors can fall into sin, teachers can have bad days and judges can be corrupt. The only true refuge, the only true place of safety is in that heavenly "Something" - within the capable, eternal, unchanging arms of God.The psalmist understood this in Psalm 73:25-28, when he penned, "Whom have I in heaven but You?  And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.  But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works." The nearness of God is my good.  What a great line!  If you're not sure what he means, let's put it in the negative - when God is far away, that's really bad.  Those who are far from from God and are unfaithful will perish and be destroyed.  Another powerful truth. The psalmist is looking beyond the here and now and setting his heart on eternity.  The God of the universe, the almighty, all present, all powerful and sovereign God who has everything under control is my portion - He is mine.  He's all I need and I recognize His presence and strength in all of life.  Even if my flesh (physically) and my heart (my mind) fails, it doesn't change the truth about God.  This is how the psalmist chooses to live his life.The psalm ends with a choice - I have made the Lord God my refuge.  Which leads me to my opening question - where do you find shelter?  You have a choice.  You can numb yourself with substances or put the weight of protection on the shoulders of those you love but who are not able to bear that weight in their humanity.  You can watch your strength and heart fail, as well as your earthly refuges.  Or you can find your strength, your purpose, your protection and your unconditional refuge in God, whose shoulders are broad enough, whose strength is unending and whose nearness is good.  No matter what you are going through today, as redeemed children of God, we know that our God is good, that He loves us and that our eternity is secure.  We know that He is working all things together for our good, conforming us into the image of His Son. We know that He says the struggles of this world are but a vapor and that in eternity the suffering is over.  We are confident that He is near, even when we don't see Him or feel Him - we CHOOSE to stand firm with confidence that God is in the midst of our suffering and that He indeed is our refuge and salvation.  We do not simply cry out to the heavens for help, but we intimately know who we have in the heavens and He knows us by name.


  1. SO TRUE -- and when my experience doesn't line up with what I know is true, I call on "my people" to pray me through! It's absolutely about choice.

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  3. The nearness of the Lord is the strength of our hearts and that is good news. Strength and peace is something we flaunt but can't provide. Great post.

  4. Such a wonderful post. You have a lovely blog.