Refuge in a Storm
When I think about the word refuge what comes to my mindÂ are two things; aÂ dangerous storm and a dark, cold, andÂ not very comfortable place like a cave in which I can rest untilÂ the storm passes by. It does not necessarily bring to mind aÂ place I want to beÂ just a space that I can occupy while I await a temporary crisis to pass. There is such an event that neither my children nor I will ever forget when I think of refuge, storms, and temporary crisis.
ManyÂ summer yearsÂ ago on a beautiful blue sky day I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea to occupy my, at the timeÂ young elementary age, children for the day and help us settle into our new home as we had recently moved. IÂ loaded up the children and our bicycles and headed to a large public garden thatÂ abounds with bike paths. We packed a picnic, had plenty of water, andÂ prepared for a fun-filled day exploring the bike paths and seeing all that God had created. Excitement is the best word to describe the anticipationÂ in the day aheadÂ for not only the children but myself as well. We rode the paved paths exploring the woods, gardens, and other venues scattered throughout the area.
It was about mid-afternoon and the children were getting tired as was I when we decided we probably should start heading back to the car andÂ go home. We were however a ways from where we parked so we began the somewhat silent ride back to where we needed to return when I heard the first rumble. I reassured myself that it was a distance away and that we would be safely ensconced in the car before the first drop of rain could hit. As we continued to make our way back however the sky suddenly darkened and the rumble became much closer and certainly louder. The children were very concerned but I continued to reassure them that we just needed to keep moving and we would make it to the car safely before the storm cameÂ however this was not the case. It was in just a short time that the sky was almost black, the thunder was very close and now we had the very visible lightning to go with it.
I tried very bravely to not show my fear but knew we needed to find some type of shelter. My scouting days came back and I knew we had to get out of the woods we were in as it was not safe. The wind picked up as the storm came closer. The lightening was striking very close and the thunder that accompanied it was deafening. I yelled to the children to move as fast as they could pedal to get out of the tree line as there appeared to be a building ahead at the edge of the woods. We reached the building just as the first drops of rain pelted down but theÂ buildingÂ was not occupied and locked up tight. It had very little overhang so it provided no shelter and we were now getting wet as the rain began to fall with greater force. I noticed aÂ tractor shelter out back and told the children we were going to make a run for that building.
We left our bikes and ran through the pounding rain and wind and I prayedÂ that God would protect us all from harm. We reached the shelter without incident but found it locked however it did have a deeper overhang and I grabbed the children and we hugged ourselves up against the building as tightly as we could. The wind blew asÂ the rain came down in sheets and through it all we watched the lightning strike closer and closer with its thunder sounding its arrival each time with aÂ louder and more startling soundÂ as it circled about. I prayed hard for protection of the children as the storm seemed to go on and on.
We were now quite wet and cold for with the storm came the wind that cooled off the heat of the day. I wanted to get the children and myself to the safety and comfort of the car but knew we were still at least a mile away maybe further. The storm didn’t end like I would have expected a sudden summer stormÂ to end and I knew I needed toÂ decide what to do as the children were depending upon me to keep them safe. When a streak of lightning struck very closely and ran down a nearby tree my decision-making propertiesÂ sped up as I knew we needed to leave this area but the only other option was the path that ran through the woods. I prayed hard for God to direct me with the right decision. When a second strike occurred close by again I told the children that we were going to get on our bikes and ride as fast as we could to the main road and then back to the parking lot whereÂ ourÂ car was. They would need to be alert for cars on the road and pay attention and it would be necessary that no one lagged behind. I prayed silently that God would protect us.
We ran through the pouring rain and river of mudÂ to our bikes and took off with the storm still going. We raced through the woods to the main road and hadn’t gone far when the first car rodeÂ past us and just kept going as if this was an ordinary day of summer fun. I continued to have faith that God would protect us and we just continued to move forward. It was some time before another car came about andÂ I shouted to the children againÂ to be alert and as this car passed us they stopped and asked us to take refuge with them in their car. We parked our bikes off the road and quickly agreed to accept their offer. They had been at the beach with their family when the storm arose and offered us their towels to dry off with as the father of the family drove us to our car. GratitudeÂ filled me as their hospitality and willingness to help out strangers in need abounded. They didn’t just seek help for us butÂ gave help to us themselves. As we arrivedÂ to our car without incident the sun began to peek through the storm clouds and the rain begin to slow down to just a shower. I thanked the family profusely for their help as the children climbed into our car with great eagerness.
I sat behind the wheel of the car with the heat blowing full force as I realized we had been safely delivered from the storm and was so grateful to God for sending our rescuers as we were further away than I had thought we were. I know with confidenceÂ that God saw us safely through that day and without harm. He became our refuge and provided refuge. We drove back to where the bikes were left and loaded them up as the rain completely stopped and the sun now shone brightly. I asked the children if they wanted to stay and ride some more but they resounded loudly with NO! In fact for some time after that whenever I suggested we take our bikes to ride anywhere no one ever wanted to go even though we had found refuge from the storm and God had safely delivered us through it. We do not like the thought of having to seek or take refuge as it connotations do not lend themselves to comforting thoughts.
The Bible has 111 occurrences where the word refuge is found.Â It uses both literal and figurative meanings. The literal meaning is a shelter while the figurative meaningÂ is a hope or trust. WhenÂ the used wordÂ is figurative itÂ provides comfort and does not necessarily conjure up images of dark cavesÂ demanded for temporary protectionÂ or does it?
The storms of life that occurÂ may last only in a temporary sense however they can last long-term and theseÂ are like dark days if we do not haveÂ the refugeÂ of God through hope and trust.Â If however we learn how the term refuge can protect us by providing comfort we can see it in a new light, the light of God. We would all prefer that storms be quick and move on so we can get out of the need for refuge and on with our comforting lives but how do we keep going when the storm seems to have no end in sight? This is where we learn to move the word refuge from a literal meaning to a figurative meaning and seek solace with God in hope and trust. We must look to the light of eternity. This week’s focus verse is Psalm 62:7;
My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. (NLT)
Victory in the Refuge
What confident and comforting words David wrote that we too can find protection with God. David is not guessing with these words he speaks with experience. He knows and he trusts that God will see him through this storm in his life. That is the key phrase though that God will see us through it. He doesn’t promise that he will deliver us from it but merely that He will be with us and give us the strength to keep going. He does promise us that He will giveÂ us salvation. We will find victory through Him in His time frame not ours. So when weÂ face the upsets of life and we cry out we can cry out in hope as we find our strength in that rock and know that protection is ours in the end.
Our victory comes through Jesus Christ. Dr. Kenneth D. Boa writes his in book Once a Day 40 Days to Easter Devotional thatÂ ourÂ salvation through ChristÂ helps us know thatÂ the disasters of life have a purpose as God is preparing us to meet him face to face. Transformation of us continually occurs as weÂ becomeÂ more like ChristÂ by deepening our relationship with Him. While we are facing the trials of this earth though, we can use the term refuge fully in the figurative sense. God may or may not deliver us from our trouble but he is always ready to make good from the problems we face. Psalm 46:1 echoes this;
God is our refuge and strength always ready to help in times of trouble. (NLT)
All believers can find the solace they need knowing that God is there for them whether facing storms of life temporarily or permanently. A beautiful songÂ written by John Michael Talbot and Little Portion based off of Psalm 62 entitled Only in GodÂ helps us praise God for the peace He provides through His refuge.
My stronghold my Savior
I shall not be afraid at all
My stronghold my Savior
I shall not be moved
Only in God is my soul at rest
In Him comes my salvation
Only in God is my soul at rest
In Him comes my salvation
He only is my Rock
My strength and my salvation
Only in God is found safety
When my enemy pursues me
Only in God is found glory
When I am found meek and found lowly
Victory is found in the defeating of the enemy, the enemy of sin and the evil world we live in as one day all believers will be with God. That is the greatest refuge of all and that refuge provides the greatest comfort and the word itself will transform from the figurative meaning of hope and trust to the literal meaning of place of shelter where there will be full protection and comfort forever. For as the words say in the song, In Christ Alone, written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, Christ by Himself provides the victory protecting us forever more.
Celebrate this Holy Week as weÂ remember that God has provided victory from death protecting us with refuge now and forever. Oh Happy Wonderful Easter!
Love in Christ,
What Are Your Thoughts?
Have you gone through a storm of life in which God has clearly shown you the protection He has provided? Perhaps you are in a storm now and would like encouragement from others. Join us in discussionÂ on the topic findingÂ refuge and comfort throughÂ the storms of life…