Who Is Your Refuge?
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah – Psalm 46:1-3
I suppose every era goes through a time of such calamity that the end of the age seems apparent. Once again, we are living in such a time. While our situation is comparable to previous generations, it’s also possible there’s never been a more volatile time known to man, at least in the modern age. Nothing seems sure anymore. The inventions men designed to make life good and pleasurable have either crumbled or threaten to. Still worse, the unusual number of natural disasters abounding on all continents incites the question, Who’s next?
“The earth gives way…the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea…its waters roar and foam…the mountains tremble at its swelling.” When I read theses words my mind races to the recent catastrophes that seem to be never ending. My point, however, is not to interject more fear than is already being amply promoted. It’s easy to report the obvious, but I wish to state the unobvious that’s more sure and unshakable. “We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28, NIV).
God is called a “refuge.” In ancient Israel, the Lord instructed his people to build Cities of Refuge, safe havens for people who were accused of a crime, particularly manslaughter or murder. When there was no where else for them to turn, these cities would provide shelter and protection until they were given justice from their accusers. Likewise, the Lord is a safe place, a place of shelter when our lives are threatened by uncontrollable circumstances.
Notice, the Psalmist says God is a refuge “in trouble.” The Hebrew word for “trouble” means a tight place or a place without options. If your homeland becomes unsafe you can run to another city, region, or country. But when “the earth gives way,” where can you go? You can’t fly to Mars! You’re left without options with no where else to run to. It’s in this context that God says, “I’ll be your refuge; you can lean upon me and find rest for your soul; I’ll shelter you and will not turn you away.”
The “trouble” it speaks of is not distinguished. Whether it is trouble of your own making or a tight place you were forced into from adversity beyond your control, the compassion of God goes out to anyone “in trouble.” No one is disqualified from God’s refuge.
So how does this refuge become real to us? God as refuge becomes more than theory when we get to know him at the place of prayer and worship. This is where we experience the “very present” presence of God. The person who has met God in the intimate place of prayer and worship looks foolish to the common man. Anxiety fills the worrier, while peace dominates the worshiper. People who don’t share your refuge will say you’re in denial while they scurry to keep their world in tact. I’m not advocating irresponsibility, but when you’ve done what you can and have been forced into a tight place without options, the man or woman whose refuge is the Lord will not fall apart when everything and everyone else around does.
Who is your refuge? Some people choose drugs and alcohol as their refuge, while others retreat to food, money, or sex. You may find a solace in your abilities, business, or the people you’re closest to.
Your refuge is whatever or whomever you turn to first when your world gets out of control.
Notice, the question is not “Who is your Savior?” You can pray a “sinner’s prayer” and claim Jesus as your Savior from eternal hell and continue living in a literal hell on earth because you’ve never followed him to the intimate place of prayer and worship. Receiving Jesus is not the escape of eternal hell, but the entrance of eternal life…now. When circumstances bring trouble, those who have made God their refuge live in peace.
In one of her well known gospel songs, the late Dottie Rambo captures the essence of my question:
Where do I go when there's nobody else to turn to?
Who do I talk to when nobody wants to listen?
Who do I lean on when there's no foundation stable?
I go to The Rock.
When the earth all around me is sinking sand
On Christ, the solid rock I stand
When I need a shelter, when I need a friend
I go to The Rock
Who is your refuge?
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