There are many reasons I’m thankful to be a citizen of the United States. One that I’ve recently come to appreciate is our nation’s policy of providing refuge for people fleeing devastating wars. How good that the oppressed are welcome to seek peace among us!
The city in which I live is not large, but in the last couple of years a number of refugees from Liberia have come here. Some have become part of the church I serve, and I’ve heard about the conditions from which these people have fled. I can’t begin to imagine the horror they’ve experienced and how blessed they view the peace they find in our land.
It helps me to better appreciate the numerous references to God as a refuge for his people. Psalm 57:1 is a good example: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in you; and in the shadow of your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by” (NKJV). The superscription of this psalm names David as the author, and the occasion as being when he hid in a cave from Saul. His life was in danger, but it wasn’t the cave that made David feel secure; it was his relationship with God.
The sons of Korah also understood the blessing of God as a haven of peace. Psalm 46:1-3 states the blessing in beautiful terms: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; thought its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.” Man has never seen trouble as severe as described in this psalm. But if he did, he would find God waiting to shelter him.
God’s refuge continues to be offered in the Christian age: “That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18). In coming to Christ, we come to the rock of ages. In him we find the security we need.
Many don’t realize the deadly conditions surrounding their souls. Those of us who believe the warnings of God’s word don’t have to despair; we are directed to the fortress in which no evil can touch us. God’s arms are open wide to all who come to him in faith and submission. We are refugees all; why would we ever think about leaving him?
In God we find shelter from the storms of life.