If someone had told me 6 months ago that today the stock market would be tumbling, that we’d see churches, cruise lines, malls, gyms and hair salons shutting down, I’d have thought you were crazy. But then, life can get a little crazy at times. In times like these, we need a safe place to go. We need an emotional safe house.
Psalm 91:1-2 says,
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”
This passage is an invitation to choose God Himself as our safe place. Like a mother goose sheltering her goslings, God wants to be our shelter in times of trouble. We are invited look to Him when we need protection…a covering until the storm passes by. When we do this, God is the foundation for our hope. It’s from this place of refuge that all of our choices flow out. God may at times use the natural things of this world to provide and protect, but they are not the reason for our hope. God is.
Too often I find myself going to God as a last resort. I try everything else, and when those things fail, I say, “maybe I should pray about this. What a novel idea! So I pray about whatever problem I face. God either provides the solution to the problem I’m facing, or gives me the help I need to get through it.
How do we know if we’re making God our place of refuge, or something else? A good question to ask is, “Where is the first place we run when we’re feel afraid? Or when we’re in pain and looking for comfort? Or when we need a defender? What are we looking to in order to feel secure?
In recent weeks, I’ve had to face fear. Fear of sickness. Fear of running out of groceries. Fear of social distancing. Maybe you’ve experienced something similar. Where was the first place you ran? Was it to stockpiling? Hand sanitizer? Isolating? Masks? The medical profession? Government intervention? Immunizations? Special diets?
God may use some of these things at times to meet our needs. They can, however, become an idol if we allow them to become the foundation for our hope instead of God. He says in Isaiah 49:23,
“I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”
What do we do if we recognize that the foundation for our hope is something other than God?
It starts with repentance. This means acknowledging that we’ve been looking for refuge in something other than God.
The second step is to choose God the next time we need a safe place. This is as simple as talking to Him about what we’re going through. God is our friend, and He loves it when we share our thoughts and feelings with Him. James 4:8 says,
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”
He is here, waiting for us to come to Him. God is able to help us navigate the uncertain times that we find ourselves in. Jesus is able to give us peace that this world cannot give. He is able to provide for us even when store shelves are empty. God is our ever-present house guest when we feel cut off from others. He is our Great Physician. God is bigger than viruses and shortages and fear.
May you know Him as your Prince of Peace today,