Finding Refuge in God
Refuge is defined as a shelter or protection from danger or distress. Finding refuge is like finding a safe place for shelter during a storm.
“I will say to the Lord, my refuge and my fortress, my God, is whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2
“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2
God does not guarantee us a life free from troubles, He does not promise us that every day will be a rose garden; but He does promise us He will always be there. He does promise us that He will love us. He does promise to be our refuge, our comfort, and our safe place in times of trouble. He is the calm in the middle of the storm.
Life is filled with challenges and obstacles that make it hard for us to stay close to God and to know that He is in control; it is hard to see past the storm and remember that God is there, and He placed the storm right in front of us so we will learn to lean on Him, have faith in His presence in our lives, and to remember He is our refuge. He is our ‘ever-present help in times of trouble.’ How comforting is it to know He is always there!
The last few days I have been thinking about moments in my life where the storm was right there, all around me, and I know now that my faith in God helped me to lean on Him and find refuge with Him. I may not have realized it at the time, but I know now without any doubt, that God was there, and I sought Him out purposely for His strength, His comfort, His wisdom, and His refuge. Faith! Knowing He is there without seeing Him, I just know He is there. Each difficult moment in life, I seek Him out in my heart and in my mind. I seek out His refuge and strength! His presence is the stronghold that gets me through each challenge, each obstacle.
One of the most difficult challenging moments in my life was in 1987, when my first husband was killed in a helicopter crash. I write of this moment often, because it truly was the most life-changing moment I have ever experienced. God was my refuge for those first moments, first days, weeks, and months. He was my refuge for the ‘first times’ I had to do something or make a decision about something that I never imagined I would have to do at age 30. However, there is one moment that truly has never left my heart or my mind over the last 34 years. In this moment, the hurt was so overwhelming and had such an intense grip on my heart and mind, that I could not see or feel God’s presence. I failed to see Him at one critical moment! Mike’s father was not a Christian, and even though we had talked with him and prayed for him, he never professed his faith in Christ. On this morning, as my son and I were walking into their house to get ready for my husband’s funeral, Mr. McGinnis looked me in the eyes and out of his anger, he asked, “Well Lynne, where is your God now? What kind of God lets this happen?” I was stunned and still in shock and could not respond. I simply stared at him, stood silent, and then turned and walked away. Over the years I have gone over this moment so many times, and I know what I should have said, “My God is holding me right now. He is the only thing that is keeping me strong enough to stand here in front of you today. He is the one who is holding me in His arms and helping me through each moment. He is my shelter, and under His wings I find my refuge. He is one who will give me comfort and whisper words of encouragement this afternoon when I bury my 31-year-old husband and say my final goodbye.” But I said nothing! I still wrestle with that moment and the things I should have said. The things I could have said that may have made a difference in Mr. McGinnis making a profession of faith. However, my faith now is in my God and that He was able to work in Mr. McGinnis’s life before he passed away.
Life is filled with moments life this, moments where the problems, the fear, the hurt, and the anger feel more real than the truth. Those feelings are so strong, and so real that it is hard to see past them to see the truth – that God is the only truth we need. God is the refuge that will get us through all those feelings, all those moments. Staying focused on Him is hard, but when we truly find refuge in Him, we are totally immersed in His presence and I cannot thing of anything more incredibly comforting and beautiful than being totally immersed in God’s refuge, His presence, and His comfort.
Finding refuge in God comes to me when I immerse my heart and my mind in His word. When I surround my ears with songs of praise and worship. When I surround myself with the beauty of His creation. When I surround myself with family and friends who also know the truth of finding refuge in His presence. When I look into the sweet, innocent face of my granddaughter. God’s refuge, His comfort, His Love are there in each of these moments, in each storm of life.
Throughout my life there have been moments when I needed His refuge, and He was there every time.
- A breast cancer diagnosis
- The death of my father
- The death of my mother
- My husband’s surgeries and his life filled with pain and weakness
- Watching our children go through difficult, challenging moments in life
Yet, I know that God’s presence in my life was the stronghold that I will always cling to, the strength that I will hold onto, and the refuge that I seek in His arms and with His whispers.
In today’s world, I find myself seeking His refuge more and more often.
I find myself looking for it in the smiles on a stranger’s face, in the politeness and the gentle words of an employee helping me in a store or restaurant, or simply the greetings from neighbors as they walk by our house. These simple moments seem further and further apart these days, our world seems to have drifted away from our beliefs in God and the way we were brought up to treat others.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
It is sad and heartbreaking to see the way we treat each other, and it is sad that I seek out a simple smile on someone’s face to have hope that we are not too far gone from where God wants us to be. When I see a smile or hear a kind word, my heart is thrilled, and I know it is God’s way of showing me He is still here, and there are many who still seek His guidance and refuge. God is still here with us, He is still the guidance and wisdom we need, and He will always be the strength and comfort we need to face the storms ahead. There will be many more storms and many more dark days ahead, without God, we cannot make it through. God is still our truth!
I have found myself over the last 18 months seeking God’s wisdom and strength more and more. I do not want fear and anger to take hold of my heart and mind. I want God to be my focus, my refuge, my strength.
“O Lord, my Strength and my stronghold,
And my refuge in the day of distress,
To you the nations will come,
From the ends of the earth and say,
“Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood,
Futility and things of no profit.”
My prayer today, at this moment:
Dear Heavenly Father,
To you the nations will come!
To you we will see your truth and wisdom!
To you we will seek refuge and comfort during the days of trouble and darkness,
From you, and you only, we will inherit everlasting life and your love!
Thank you, Father, for your strength, your love, your comfort, your wisdom, and your refuge!
Thank you, Father for your Living Word!