My favorite verses of all time are from Isaiah, but my favorite book of the Bible is the Psalms, hands-down. I've been rereading the Psalms for a little while, and two of my favorite chapters in it are right next to each other: 62 and 63. One of the verses in chapter 62 has been flowing through my mind like a river for the last week or so, and I can't get it out of my head.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:8, emphasis mine
This is a theme that runs throughout the Psalms like a thread of silver. King David writes about it like it's his job. Constantly, incessantly, throughout his songs, God is a refuge for us. God is our fortress. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
I was about to write that this is one of my favorite concepts of God. And it is. I love the idea of a God Who is my safe place. I love thinking of Him as a place I can go to hide. But how often do I really believe that this is true? When all around me is swirling and driving me insane, do I really believe that God is my safe place?
I'd like to say yes, but it wouldn't be true. More often than not, I want to be my own safe place. I want to have it all under control myself. I don't just want to be safe -- I want to feel safe, too.
See, when I try to pretend I have it all under control myself, I try to tell myself that I've got it, so it's all okay. My goal is to make myself feel safe: It's fine. I'll just do this and then I'll get this done, and then I'll do these other fifteen things before I go to bed. It'll be fine. But this fine is one of denial. I'm not really seeing all the crazy that is swirling around me. I'm not looking at the storm; I'm looking at my preparation for it and telling myself that I brought my umbrella -- it'll be fine!
When the storm hits, though, I am swept off my feet. And the ironic thing is that I still ignore the fact that I'm drowning in the flood, that the winds are whirling around me and I am blinded by the debris in my eyes. I keep yelling over the thunder and the wild gusts that I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay. I want to be my own safe place, and I will be, dang it.
But God. Two of my favorite words in the entire Bible.
At some point, I am so overwhelmed that I realize I am not a safe place. In fact, I'm absolutely terrified, and I've spent a lot of time denying it. I've wanted very much to be fine -- so much so that I have not listened to the fear in my heart. I am not safe, and my heart knows it.
It's only in these moments that I go running to Shelter. ...from the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy (Psalm 61:2-3). This becomes my heart cry. I need help, and I know it. I am desperate for a place of serenity and peace.
Once I get to Shelter, though, I am disconcerted: I can hear the thunder and the hail and the wind outside. There it is, just outside the shutters. It bothers me. It clamors for my attention. And I get distracted and, frankly, a little annoyed. What gives? I thought this was a safe place!
The strong tower will keep the rain out, will protect me from the wind. That's what it's designed to do. But I have to trust that it will protect me if I want to have any kind of peace. I will never experience any kind of rest if I'm distracted by the crazy. I have to choose rest. I have to choose to stop worrying about the circumstances and the workload and the commitments and my schedule. It doesn't do me any good to be in the shadow of His wings if I don't rest there.
I think that's why Psalm 62:8 starts with an admonishment to trust in Him at all times, O people. Yes, God is a refuge for us. And He has never failed us. He has always protected us. So why don't we trust Him to protect us again? Why don't we trust the Shelter in which we've made our home?
That's really what it comes down to for me: I am in Christ. I am forever held in His everlasting arms. The question that He asks me every day is not whether He is a refuge for me, but whether I will trust Him to be that. Will I try to feel safe, or will I rest in the knowledge that I already am?
It's a question we are all asked, every single day. Every single moment. And every single moment, we get the opportunity to answer it.
May my answer be a resounding YES. Because sometimes adventure is scary, and I need to know that I'm safe.
Because guess what? I am. We are. May we not wait until we are drowning to remember it.