It is December, and the weather outside is beginning to settle into winter. No doubt, many parts of the country will experience heavy winter snows and storms to come. Winter cold and storms cause us to seek shelter and warmth. It is so similar with life. Sometimes days feel just right like spring, but it is not unique to experience what feels like a “winter of life” or a “storm of life”. Sometimes life is exhausting like intense heat. The Bible confirms all of these experiences, and the fact is that many times in this lifetime you and I will absolutely not have what it takes to “weather the elements”. As humans we seek refuge in intense weather conditions, and we seek refuge in intense life conditions. 

During a tornado, for example, it is important to know where to seek refuge. If you seek refuge in an inadequate place you are in SERIOUS DANGER. If you do not know how to find proper relief from heat exhaustion you are in serious danger. Failure to find proper refuge and relief can lead to death. It is the same with seeking refuge for “trials/storms of life”.

Ok, I am going to take this to the level of my daily life (and yours) because it is no good to appreciate an analogy if it does not impact real life. God has spoken about REFUGE quite often in his Word which means that there is something quite important and relevant here! He has told us not only that life will bring trials, but that there is also an enemy who is actively seeking to steal, kill, and destroy (no matter how alluring his net may seem- he is out to harm!). I have recently realized I have to ask myself the question, “Where do I seek refuge?”

-God has told us that in this world we will have trouble and trials. (John 16:33). 

-God has said that there is an enemy who seeks to take life from us. (John 10:10).

-Most importantly, God has spoken and declared himself to be our REFUGE.

Humans can seek refuge in a variety of other things. Some of these things are not good, but not all of these things are bad by themselves. Some are only dangerous when we run to them as refuges. Anything we make a refuge besides God will prove to be a FAULTY REFUGE, and will surely lead to our harm ultimately.

Specifically, humans are prone to seek refuge from trials of life in other people who we elevate to the level of God… in entertainment, alcohol, food, and drugs which we use as an escape… in busyness…. in religious activities that are routines void of that personal relationship with Jesus… in working harder when it is a result of placing all trust in myself to deliver me from this hardship…of running (sometimes literally running, sometimes running by not facing a hardship with the help of God in his prescribed way)… some take refuge and comfort in their “good works” thinking that if they are good they will make it to heaven (these do not seek Jesus as a refuge from God’s wrath as the Bible has said we must do!)…these are just a few ways. If you are bold enough for the challenge, list the refuges you typically seek.

Most idolatry that is recorded in Scripture is not just a result of a people wanting to carve statues for fun… it is a desperate attempt of a people to find refuge and deliverance from their deepest, darkest troubles and enemies! Their culture was far more spiritually tuned than our materialistic American culture, so they more easily believed that there were other gods who had power to give them what they wanted or prevent what they feared. Today, we still believe that certain things (like the ones mentioned above) can provide what we want and prevent our worst fears from becoming reality.

God has said that he is our refuge, our escape, our deliverance, our shade! He is a strong fortress and refuge, proving himself to be so good to those who take refuge in him.

The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.(Nahum 1:7, NLT).

“The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.” (Psalm 121:5, NLT).

“This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” (Psalm 91:2, NLT).

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat…” (Isaiah 25:4, NIV).

The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:22, NIV).

 We demonstrate beautiful, deep trust in God when we turn toward him in our search for refuge. Seeking refuge in God can be a way of life, and it leads to the blessed, peaceful life! Seeking refuge in God honors him. It is a sign that we trust him to be for us the protector, defender, counselor, (etc.) that he has promised to be to those who are his.

Think of what it might look like to actively seek refuge in God from storms of life.  Sometimes seeking refuge in God may be praying instead of choosing to take matters into your own hands right away. Seeking refuge in God would surely involve time in God’s Word listening for his instruction and love. Seeking refuge in God will involve refusing run to your usual “refuge” during a time of crisis or stress. What would you have to refuse as a refuge to seek refuge in God?

(post written by RBL Blog Writer Lauren Mathers)