by Steve Tipps
Shelter or protection from danger, trouble, or distress etc.: to take refuge from a storm.
A place of shelter, protection, or safety.
Anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape.
That which shelters or protects from danger, or from distress or calamity; a stronghold which protects by its strength, or a sanctuary which secures safety by its sacredness; a place inaccessible to an enemy.
A person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc. (normally seen as running from something)
How many of you have gone through or are going through life situations where you have taken refuge to get through it or are in need of refuge as you move through current situations in your life?
I want to explore more fully the concept of taking refuge and of being a refuge without being or becoming a refugee...
“PERHAPS THE MOST important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us.
Not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing. Silence is God’s lap."
3 A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge,
but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
How often do we consider it weakness to seek refuge?
We think we must keep going and eventually we will get through whatever we are struggling with...
While it is important to keep moving, it is possible to take refuge without isolating ourselves and ceasing movement as we take moments of refuge along the path we are currently moving or as we are adjusting our path...
Many things grow the silence in us, among them simply growing older.
Recount the visit with Guy in Atlanta - french business man - realized that he knows now much less than when he was younger because of his realization that there is much more that he does not know...
We may then become more a refuge than a rescuer, a witness to the process of life and the wisdom of acceptance.
A highly skilled AIDS doctor once told me that she keeps a picture of her grandmother in her home and sits before it for a few minutes every day before she leaves for work. Her grandmother was an Italian-born woman who held her family close. Her wisdom was of the earth. Once when Louisa was very small, her kitten was killed in an accident. It was her first experience of death and and she had been devastated. Her parents had encouraged her not to be sad, telling her that the kitten was in heaven now with God. Despite these assurances, she had not been comforted. She had prayed to God, asking Him to give her kitten back. But God did not respond.
In her anguish she had turned to her grandmother and asked, “Why?” Her grandmother had not told her that her kitten was in heaven as so many of the other adults had. Instead, she had simply held her and reminded her of the time when her grandfather had died. She, too, had prayed to God, but God had not brought Grandpa back. She did not know why. Louisa had turned into the soft warmth of her grandmother’s shoulder then and sobbed. When finally she was able to look up, she saw that her grandmother was crying as well.
Although her grandmother could not answer her question, a great loneliness had gone and she felt able to go on. All the assurances that Peaches was in heaven had not given her this strength or peace. “My grandmother was a lap, Rachel,” she told me, “a place of refuge. I know a great deal about AIDS, but what I really want to be for my patients is a lap. A place from which they can face what they have to face and not be alone.”
Taking refuge does not mean hiding from life. It means finding a place of strength, the capacity to live the life we have been given with greater courage and sometimes even with gratitude.”
27 The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemy before you,
saying, ‘Destroy him! ’
2 Samuel 22:3
3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior–
from violent men you save me.
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
1 O Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
For the director of music. Of David.
1 In the Lord I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
“Flee like a bird to your mountain.
6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.
1 Keep me safe, O God,
for in you I take refuge.
7 Show the wonder of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
30 As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.
20 Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
1 In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
4 Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
19 How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in you.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
22 The Lord redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever- present help in trouble.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
16 But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
3 For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
10 Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord
and take refuge in him;
let all the upright in heart praise him!
71:1- 3pp – Ps 31:1- 4
1 In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
3 Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling–
even the Lord, who is my refuge–
22 But the Lord has become my fortress,
and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
8 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord;
in you I take refuge –do not give me over to death.
5 I cry to you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
2 He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.
26 He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress,
and for his children it will be a refuge.
32 When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down,
but even in death the righteous have a refuge.
(Not if calamity comes but when calamity comes...)
12 The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
5 “Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
4 You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm
and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless
is like a storm driving against a wall
32 What answer shall be given
to the envoys of that nation?
“The Lord has established Zion,
and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.”
5 Or else let them come to me for refuge;
let them make peace with me,
yes, let them make peace with me.”
19 O Lord, my strength and my fortress,
my refuge in time of distress,
to you the nations will come
from the ends of the earth and say,
“Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods,
worthless idols that did them no good.
16 The Lord will roar from Zion
and thunder from Jerusalem;
the earth and the sky will tremble.
But the Lord will be a refuge for his people,
a stronghold for the people of Israel.
7 The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
In the old testament the word "refuge" is not used - instead the focus shifts to Jesus in us through the Holy Spirit allowing Him to be a refuge when we are alone or with others with whom we feel safe.
Where do you find help when you are in trouble?
How do you calm yourself when you are afraid?
God wants to be your fortress - your first line of defense - and he can do it through you and also provide others who can help you reach that place of refuge...
What has kept you from experiencing God as your refuge?
Have you been seeking shelter elsewhere?
Are you angry at God for letting you down?
Have you dug yourself into a hole that you now think you have to dig yourself out of?
Do you feel guilty and unworthy of God's help?
Do you think your situation is impossible?
Are we being self-reliant type?
Today we are moving beyond the theory of God's faithfulness into experiencing His faithfulness.
When fear creeps into your thoughts and lives, call out the Truth from the Word and you will find the rest you need in the powerful encircling arms of God who is far stronger than any method of self-defense you could ever devise.
You may be Jesus with skin on that becomes a place of safety to someone else in your family, in this body, as a friend and sometime as a stranger - it's Jesus in you that causes that to become a reality for those around you.
Knowing an answer from you is not expected or required...
Not only will God provide a refuge but He will be a refuge...
Sometimes we are at a place beyond words to either speak or hear them but a safe place of silence is needed to gather strength and continue on...
Taking refuge does not mean hiding from life. It means finding a place of strength, the capacity to live the life we have been given with greater courage and sometimes even with gratitude.
Walk out in Hope...