The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalm 46:7
The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
When Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast people fled Louisiana to neighboring states and places more safe and secure. One such couple with their newborn child reached out to us at St. John for a place to stay. Diane and I ended up offering them a place to stay in our home. We were happy to provide a place for them, and they even helped us secure our house from potential storm damage. They were appreciative and able to be on their way the next day.
God offers himself as a place of safety and refuge for his people. The question for us is how do we take advantage of this place of refuge and safety. It’s not like we can go to a church building and expect that we will be protected just because we’re in a church building. A quick look at the flooding we experienced at St. John in 2016 and again in 2018 will lay that idea to rest. Rising water does not automatically avoid church buildings, nor will church buildings be exempt from damage by winds, fire, or even vandalism.
There are also those who have prayed earnestly for rescue, safe passage, or avoidance of plague, famine, or other calamity, who were not exempted from these difficulties. Surely we must recognize a deeper danger from which God is our refuge and place of security! This is not a cop-out. It is, however, a reminder of the wholly-otherness of God, and of his Grand Story of redemption, salvation, and grace that plays out in the every-day life and times of his people.
The rescue is actually The Rescue from sin, death, the devil, and hell. It is a redemption from the mundane worries of merely a better life under the guise of outward success and painless days. The refuge God provides is the confident hope that all enemies of our bodies and souls will one day be destroyed, and we who hope in God will be vindicated.
God’s place of refuge is a place of the heart, a resting spot for our souls, a bold faith in God’s delivering power. That was shown in Jesus Christ, through his perfect life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection. The safety and security that God offers us is enjoyed by faith. It transcends every evil turn we face in this life and will be fully enjoyed in the life of the world to come.