Refuge defined by Webster is, “shelter or protection from danger or distress, a place that provides shelter”, “a sanctuary or safe haven”. Many times when people consider a ‘refuge’ they picture a building, a church, or somewhere physical that a person may go that will protect them. But sometimes the best ‘refuge’ is actually a person(s) and not a place. Having a person(s) as a refuge can build stronger foundations to withstand life’s trials.
I was recently afforded the opportunity to spend some time with a group of friends, we normally see one another once a year when we all gather at an annual function in Illinois to recharge. When we were together we were talking about our friendship being a ‘safe zone’ where we can let the walls down and be ourselves, to be open and raw without judgement or repercussions with what was spoken (unless it was about bodily functions while having dinner — LOL.)
Being able to have people in your life that allows you to be your truest self, that you can give your opinion to and know it will be accepted without the other party getting angry or upset. To have individuals that will encourage and provide guidance, but also will make you laugh so hard your belly hurts in the next breath. This refuge is priceless and having these ‘safety zones’ makes life easier.
Though it is priceless to have individuals in your life that provide this, it makes it even better when they too share the greatest refuge – God. Psalms 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”. When your refuge can lead you to the One safe haven that provides peace beyond understanding; you can walk away with a recharge that will build you up physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
While hiding out and unplugging, part of my Bible reading included passages from Psalms. David’s writings speak loudly about our Refuge. As I was preparing to leave the haven of the cabin, I was reflecting on the blog I shared a few months ago ‘Loving Beyond Words’ and being able to have a safety zone. No words are needed when you are in a ‘zone’ to know you’re safe; just as words are not always needed to know you’re loved.
Over the past few years my family has sustained some losses: my immediate, extended, and church family. Sometimes we want to curl up and just block the world thinking it will also block the hurt. In Psalms 91:4 it reads, “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Many of us have been around chickens or have seen momma birds shield their young by hiding them under their wings; just as nature protects their children from harm that comes their way…He will cover you! He will be the shield. But as with any battle, sometimes you will be wounded…just remember who is holding the buckler.
And when the wounds are inflicted, we may feel that we are forgotten. When we receive doctors reports that cancer is there, when the illness that plagues us wears us down and continues to weaken us, when we lose our jobs and continue to pray for direction but the road signs have been taken away, and when we make decisions that take us away from where we need to be with God…know that He is still our refuge. Psalms 91:11-12 reads, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” We May feel like we’re free falling, or that we are alone. But our Refuge has given the Angels charge over us, they will bear us up. As David said “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Psalms 91:2). When it’s easy to be blinded by the here and now, and current circumstances we must always trust.
Trust in the process, in our deliverer. As Psalms 71:3-5 lays it out, “Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.” He is our habitation where we may ‘continually’ go. The One to save us and our Hope. Sometimes the process takes longer than we want, but He is our hope that becomes our shield and we have to wait. “Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” (Psalms 33:20-22).
I am so very thankful for a Savior that continues to love me even when I do not deserve it. I have made choices in my life that could have placed me on a path of destruction, but by His grace and mercy and for the ‘Safety Zones’ that he has placed throughout my life, I continue forward. I have a very eclectic group of safety zones — but throughout each of them the acceptance without reproach is paramount. And as I seek the judgement free zone, I must ‘intentionally’ (read about my word for 2019 here) remember to be willing to also provide the same to others. Through it all remembering that the BEST safe haven/refuge is in Christ, and He stands with open arms willing to be our shield and help in our times of trouble — regardless of what that trouble may be.
Pick people that provide the safety zones that build a strong foundation.