Monday, October 26, 2009

A Refuge

Moving to a new town in a new state a thousand miles from home is not easy. Admittedly, it does not rank up there with serving in Iraq or becoming a missionary in Bulgaria or giving up sugar for Lent, but it's difficult nonetheless.

There have been many things that have made this transition easier than it could have been. Lots of family. A loving church. A great house with plenty of room for the kids to play inside or out. Good neighbor kids that provided my children with fast friends.

These things are all good. (Except when the neighbor kid teaches your seven year-old son how to do a supermodel walk . . . that's never good.) But, I realized recently that they cannot be what sustains me. While I'm thankful for these pieces of respite that God has mercifully provided, I must assess them accurately, not giving them a place of more importance than they deserve.

Yesterday in church we were singing a song that I love even if I have been singing it since I was four. It's taken directly from Psalm 91:

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. And I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge, and my fortress; my God in Him will I trust." (Ps 91:1-2, emphasis mine)

As I was singing those words, I felt the Lord speak to my spirit. The conversation went something like this.

"Am I?" He asked.
"Are you what?" I replied.
"Your refuge."
"Yes. Thank you, God, that you are my refuge."
"Am I?"
"Of course. Your word says you are."
"An umbrella keeps you dry but only if you use it. Am I your refuge?"
"Well . . . I guess so."
"I think you've been finding refuge elsewhere. In friends. In activities. In busy-ness. In projects. In entertainment. Am I your refuge?"

Lest you think I've completely lost it, this conversation took place entirely in my head. I did not hear God speak audibly about an umbrella any more than I took off on one like Mary Poppins, but I do believe He impresses these thoughts into my spirit and that they come from Him.

The good thing about God's voice is that it does not lead to condemnation but to conviction. The difference is that one leaves you feeling guilty and hopeless; the other leaves you feeling briefly saddened at your mistake but blissfully hopeful in the God of grace who showed you your mistake and wants to help you correct it.

There's nothing wrong with all the other things that I've been finding solace in, but it's important to be conscious of what I'm doing. God promises that He is my refuge and my strength, an ever-present help in trouble, a strong tower and a shield over my head. But that does not mean I can't find solace elsewhere. He is not the only refuge game in town, but the others will all prove a shabby substitute in the end.

Lord, help me to continually find my refuge in You and You alone.

1 comment:

Lenae said...

I needed to hear this, Beck. We're a military family and find ourselves living hundreds and hundreds of miles away from both our home states. I've spent much time over the past few years busily trying to cram countless things and people into my life to provide a refuge... when I've always had One, always will. Thanks for this post- It really convicted and blessed me.