Have you ever been through a season when it seems every area of your life is filled with conflict or trouble? Several years ago, I found myself living through a time like this, and during that season, my home became a treasured place of refuge. In those times, there certainly is “no place like home.”
One day during that season, I stood at my kitchen sink and was thankful to be doing the simple task of washing dishes in my quiet, safe home. I’m sure you love your home too. Our homes are safe and secure. It is where we rest. In our homes, we are loved and cared for. We are nourished with good food. In our homes, we can just be. That day as I washed the dishes, the Holy Spirit reminded me of these verses from Psalm 46:1-2a (NIV):
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear…”
I love home because it is a refuge for me – a place of shelter and safety from danger and trouble. But in Psalm 46, God is saying that He is our refuge. The picture of God as our refuge expands as we read Moses’ parting blessing to Israel in Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV):
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
The word for refuge here means a dwelling place or habitation. In Psalm 46, the word carries more the idea of shelter from danger or storm. The word “home” encompasses all those things. God is describing Himself to us. He is shelter from the storms of life, He is safety from those who would do us harm, and He is our dwelling place.
That day as I scrubbed the dishes and talked with the Lord, I came to a realization: Though I am thankful for my home, it cannot be my ultimate place of safety and security. It is fleeting and temporary. It could change tomorrow or even today. How would I respond if I did lose my home? I would feel devastated, filled with despair, and probably angry.
However, God never promised me this home, but He does promise something even better.
God promises us Himself, His presence. The Lord was saying to my heart, “I am your ultimate refuge. I am your true source of safety and security. You can always find rest in me. I never change.” My home is a gift from God and I thank Him for it. But my home is not my final place of rest. Gifts are never meant to be the pinnacle of our gratitude. We follow the trail of the gift (in this case, my home) back to the Giver of those good gifts. And there we find the True Source of everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)
But there’s more... (with God there’s always more!)
God is not only our refuge but also our strength and help. I continued through the Psalm which says “Therefore, we will not fear.” Then the author proceeds to list several circumstances that absolutely cause us to fear! Earth removed? Mountains crumbling? Seas roaring?
You can fill in the blank with your current, personal fear: Distressing conflict. Husband leaving. Child dying. Cancer overtaking. Reputation maligned. Physical pain with no relief. Depression. Rebellious child. Trapped in a situation with no way out. As James says, we will experience various trials in this life (James 1:2). In the middle of that circumstance that He has sovereignly allowed in your life today, God says to you and me, “I am your refuge and strength and help. And I am ever-present.” One of those would be enough to carry us through. But He declares that He is all three for us. So abundant is His grace!
In the middle of my unrest, He saw my deeper heart need that day. I needed more than just the alleviation of difficult circumstances. He reminded me of the truth of who He is - that He is my true source of safety and security. He is home. He is my refuge. My difficult season did not immediately change. But He was gently teaching me to lift my eyes to Him, breathe a deep sigh of relaxation, and sink into His everlasting arms.
Do you believe that, Christian? Repeat Psalm 46 in your mind and with your lips until His peace calms your soul. Write it out on index cards and stick them on your desk, car dashboard, or by your kitchen sink. Remind yourself of His truth throughout your day.
He is very present with us. The eternal God is our refuge. Therefore, we will not fear.