Our Refuge in the Storm (or the Pandemic)
Shelter. That’s a word that we’ve heard a lot recently. Shelter in place – that’s what we’re told to do right now. Stay at home. For some, this is not a difficult thing to do; they live in a safe place with people they love and can spend time with and not go completely crazy. For others, it is a very difficult thing to do; they may not live in a home that is very safe and their time at school or church and with their friends is where they feel safe, or maybe they’re just an extreme extrovert and are slowly withering away inside without personal social interaction (or is that just me?) Whichever boat you find yourself in, there is a far better and safer shelter than the one you’re in right now.
Throughout Scripture, and especially the psalms, we see this idea of God being our shelter and our refuge. A definition of refuge is, “ a shelter or protection from danger or distress.” A refuge is essentially a safe place where we find protection from things that may cause us harm. We are told that God is our refuge, that we can find protection, shelter, and safety in him. Psalm 61 and 62 are two of my favorite psalms, and in them, David says over and over that God is his refuge. Now, when David wrote these psalms, it’s believed that he was hiding from Saul who was hunting him down, trying to kill him (1 Samuel 26). He was in search of shelter and refuge that would keep him safe from the man who was trying to harm him. Even though he found a place to hide, he knew that wouldn’t keep him safe. The only refuge he could find that would truly keep him safe was God. He trusted in God as his shelter and refuge, his mighty rock.
During this time of staying in the shelter of our homes, whether that is a safe place for you or not, I want to challenge you to find your true refuge in God. He is the one who never fails us, who is steady, unchanging, a firm foundation. So, use this time to press into God. You have a lot more time on your hands; use it to go deeper with God. When you’re afraid, worried, anxious, sad, happy, confused, content, (really just anytime) go to God and take shelter under his wings. Like a baby bird resting under their mothers’ wings (google it, it’s adorable!). Under those wings, they found shelter, protection, warmth, love, and peace. The baby birds trust their mothers as they rested under their wings. Just like a baby bird, we are to take refuge under God’s wings. He is our refuge, our shelter in the storm (or the pandemic).
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
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.
1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3 How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
God, during this time when I need to stay at home, I ask that you would show me that you are my refuge, that you are a safe place in the midst of this pandemic that is spreading throughout the world. Be my safe place. Be my shelter. Be my refuge. Help me to trust in you during this time, to go to you for shelter, and to take refuge under your wings. Amen.
Feel free to use these questions as a guide as you journal and/or pray.
1. What are some of the difficulties you face as you stay at home?
2. What things do you need in a place of refuge and shelter?
3. Can you think of a time where you have experienced God being your refuge?
4. Spend a minute or two just resting under God’s wings, sitting in his presence. How did you feel while you did that?
Songs to listen to
These are a couple songs that I listen to when I’m feeling anxious or worried. Spend some time listening to these, reflecting on the words, and sitting with Jesus.
I Am Not Alone by Kari Jobe
Defender by Francesca Battistelli