After each day of elementary school, I had to run home because of bullies who threatened me and because of a gang that lived in a house near my school. I knew that if I could just make it home, I would find refuge. I felt safe there because my older cousin would be at home waiting for me. He had a reputation of being able to “kick butt” so nobody messed with him. When I got home, I felt safe, protected, and confident because my older cousin would fight my battle for me and win. He was my refuge and strength.
This battle called life is filled with bullies and gangs. Who do you run to for refuge and strength? When the bullies called temptation, disappointment, failure, sin, and suffering chase us, we often run to other things instead of to Jesus, our only true refuge and strength.
So often, we, as Christians, suffer from what Paul David Tripp calls gospel amnesia. We forget to preach the gospel to ourselves, so we fail to integrate the gospel into our everyday lives.
I’ve shared in recent posts that our leadership team is reading Tripp’s book Dangerous Calling. He speaks about this idea of finding refuge, saying:
In the middle of trouble, when you are in the heat of the battle, you will run somewhere for refuge. You will run somewhere for rest, comfort, peace, encouragement, wisdom, healing, and strength. There is only one place to run where true protection, rest, and strength can be found. You and I must learn, in life and ministry, to make the Lord our refuge. Perhaps in trouble you run to other people, hoping that they can be your personal messiah. Perhaps you run to entertainment. Hoping to numb your troubles away. Maybe you run to a substance. Trying your best to turn off the pain. Maybe you are tempted to run to food or sex, fighting pain with pleasure. Since none of these things can provide the refuge that you seek, putting your hope there tends only to add disappointment to the trouble you’re already experiencing.
God really is your refuge and strength. Only he rules every location where your trouble exists. Only he controls all the relationships in which disappointment will rear its head. Only he has the power to rescue and deliver you. Only he has the grace you need to face what you are facing. Only he holds the wisdom that, in trouble, you so desperately need. Only he is in, with, and for you at all times. He is the refuge of refuges. Do you run to him?
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1, ESV). Let’s run to him because he is our safe place.
Marinate on that.