To Be a Refuge

I have been so afraid. So fearful. It is so easy to fall into the temptation of just following myself. I think that I know what I’m doing with my life, but in all reality, I don’t. When we, as humans, try to follow our will rather than the Lord’s, we end up worse off than we were before. We put ourselves (or whatever it is that we’re all about at the time) at the center of our universe and when that happens, it’s like building a house on sand – nothing lasts and everything caves in on itself. When we follow ourselves, we end up doing what we think is right and then dealing with the consequences in our own way. We think that we are doing better. Working harder, serving harder. Relying, trusting, depending more. We tend to think we know what’s going on in our lives, but we really don’t. All we think about is ME, ME, ME, when we ought to think about others.

Lately one verse has been stuck in my head. It’s like a song that you hear and keeps replaying itself in your mind over and over. But this time it didn’t just go away like an annoying song. It keeps popping up. I keep going back to it.

Psalm 118:8 – “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in any man.”

Damn.
What hit me first was the word refuge. As an English teaching major the fact that the author chose the word refuge really stuck out. Why refuge? Why not “rely on” or any other synonym? Why refuge? What does refuge even mean? So the teacher in me looked it up.

Refuge: a shelter or protection from danger or distress; a place that provides shelter or protection

Okay, so it’s somewhere you go that you receive protection and shelter from danger or distress. Looking at the phrase “to take refuge” it seems like we should be refugees. That thought struck me. And then didn’t leave. We are supposed to be refugees. We are supposed to be turning to the Lord for protection. We are in the middle of a spiritual war zone and the Lord of the universe wants to take us and protect us from danger.  And yet, do we let Him? I know that I haven’t.

The idea of being a refugee has been sticking with me lately. Then my mind started making connections. In IP we’ve been talking about how we, as Christians, need to enter into the Lord’s rest. We need to rely on Him and rest in Him. We need to stop worrying so much about our own lives and how to take care of everything that we need, or think that we need. Then the meaning of being a refugee really started to sink in. A refugee is someone who needs protection but there is more. A refugee needs to rely completely on the one that is giving them refuge. The person who is offering up the refuge has to supply every need for the refugee because the refugee has absolutely nothing. The person offering refuge must have everything to give. And yet, as humans we don’t enter into God’s rest – into his refuge- because we rely so much on others. We become so focused on who we are and what we need that we forget that the Lord has told us over and over again that He will neither leave us nor forsake us.

Deuteronomy 31:8 “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Hebrews 13:5 “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said “I WILL NEVER DESSERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU”

Powerful words from the God of the universe. After doing some research into the phrase “neither leave nor forsake” the Lord really started breaking me down. Through a series of events the Lord showed me what was really going on. I was afraid of broken. AKA being shown what I’m really like and then letting the Lord change me. I am afraid of being broken. I am content, but I’m not content in the Lord. I am content in myself and my identity in everything but the Lord. I am content in being a member of a family. I take so much of my identity through that. I love my family and they mean so much to me. The Lord is teaching me how to truly love them and submit to my father and honestly it’s a beautiful thing. I’m so content in living my life the way that I want that I’ve lost sight of what it is to really rely on Him – to rest in Him. I feel as if I’ve come to the point in my walk where I need to make a decision about the Lord. I need to live my life for Him. And any temporary pain and suffering that that might bring. I need to rest in Him. I need to rely on Him. I need to let Him lead me. I need to give up trying to micromanage and organize my life. Especially now, because it isn’t my life any more. It’s His.

So in conclusion, I encourage those of you reading this to really think about what it is to be a refugee. I encourage you to enter into the Lord’s rest. Rely on Him, let go of your own need to control and let someone who actually knows what they’re doing take the reins, rest in the fact Christ came down and sacrificed His life for you so that you could have a relationship with Him. Have faith in Him – not the world. I also encourage you to really think about who you trust. Do you trust in man? Or in the Creator? Because my friend, you cannot live in two worlds and you cannot serve two masters. You have to choose. And just so you know, not making a choice is choosing.

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