Much like yesterday’s word, “prosper,” “refuge” is a word we all know but rarely use. And also like yesterday’s word, one of the few usages that comes to my mind is a Bible passage: “You are my refuge and my strength.” I don’t even know where that’s from, except that it’s probably a Psalm. A quick Google says that it’s Psalm 46:1, and it also says that the word “refuge” is used throughout the Psalms in reference to God: “In You I have taken refuge,” “He is my mighty rock, my refuge,” “You are my strong refuge,” “It is better to take refuge in the Lord,” “You are my refuge and my shield,” etc., etc.
I usually try to avoid overly blatant Christianity in my blog so more people can relate to what I have to say, but the word “refuge” strikes too much of a chord in my Christianity for me to not focus on it. God is, to put it simply, too much of a refuge for me to ignore Him on this topic.
“Refuge” itself is such a weighted word: it implies not only fleeing from something, but it also implies throwing oneself on the mercy of another. When I think of someone who is seeking refuge, I picture someone who is fleeing from persecution, usually unfair persecution. I picture a political refugee with a price on his or her head. I picture someone fleeing from abject poverty with no chance of getting out of it. I picture someone begging, pleading, to be set free from some kind of horrible persecution and repression. And I picture someone who is appealing to another for help, whether it is a person, a country, an organization, or God Himself.
I would not consider myself to be persecuted, and yet I often feel that I need refuge from my own comfortable, first world life. When I feel overwhelmed by my responsibilities, I seek refuge. Not usually a physical refuge (although with two small children who follow me around more closely than my own shadow, sometimes it IS a physical refuge), but an emotional refuge. I need Someone who will take on my burdens for a moment. Someone at Whose feet I can lay everything that is resting heavily on my shoulders, everything that is clutching at my heart, everything that is frightening me. I need a refuge Who can be my strength when I have no strength.
And whenever I need that refuge, God is always there, waiting for me with open arms. My refuge and my strength.