“The Lord is my refuge.” I’ve read it often in Scripture. It evokes a sense of security and assurance, but what does it really mean? What does it look like in my life?
First off, what exactly is a refuge? It is defined as “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” Okay, God is not a physical bunker or building where I can lock the door and be safe from the invasive trouble or danger- so how is the Lord a refuge? Although I’m certain there are many more, here are four ways in which the Lord is my refuge.
Prayer- In prayer I find refuge from those who plot to twist my words for their own gain or cast heavy judgements from what’s spawned by my openness. But in prayer, in this place of refuge, I can speak completely and utterly free. I know, that even as I address my shortcomings and sin, that judgement is not to be feared, because I know I am forgiven. I also know that the one I am speaking to knows my heart fully, so that nothing I say can bring about new offense. And I’m being listened to fully, so my soul is at ease.
Scripture- In Scripture I find my identity to be secured. In life it seems at times that everyone and everything is trying to define me and tell me who I am. Sometimes this is very subtle, other times stark and clear. Sometimes it’s done in a professional manner, other times coarsely. It can eat away at my soul. When I am reading Scripture, however, I am in refuge from a world that pursues claim to my identity. I read about who I am and find the reasons for my value. I find that I am defined by the grace of God alone, and here not only do I find refuge but also fortitude.
The Holy Spirit- The Holy Spirit both spiritually and physically guides me and keeps me in places of refuge. He influences my decisions to keep me from my own fallible judgements and He wills and acts in me in accordance to His good purpose to guide both my soul and body to refuge. Even when circumstances seem dangerous and worry creeps in, we must not forget that the Lord is our refuge.
Favor- Throughout Scripture we read of the Lord’s favor. It rests with his people, the righteous, who are only righteous through the judgement and mercy of the Father by the means of the Son. “For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” – Psalm 5:12. As God’s favor is eternally with us we can have the confidence knowing we are not alone, that He will provide deliverance from all the trouble and danger that pursues us. There is no limit to the means and extent of God’s refuge when His favor rests upon us.
In closing, there’s a theme here- a twist. It’s all about forgiveness. Prayer and Scripture is a refuge when you know you are forgiven and therefore do not fear judgement. The Holy Spirit comes to you when you ask for forgiveness. His favor rests with you when you are righteous, which can only come about through forgiveness. We see here that refuge is ultimately found in God’s forgiveness. It is up to you now. Will you pursue it?