Psalm 31:1-5

In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

To seek refuge is to seek to be safe, to be sheltered. That is, of course, what we are doing right now. As we shelter in place, our homes are our refuge from the storm of coronavirus. All homes should be a refuge, although we all know sadly that isn’t the case for everyone.

People toss the word “refuge” around in different ways. Some people take refuge in a book; it is an escape that allows them to travel. Some use food or substances as a refuge. They will say, “This is comfort food,” or “This drink will relax me.” We all want to feel comforted and safe.

But, there is only one safe place to truly find refuge, as the psalmist reminds us this morning, and that is in God. In fact there are 45 references to God being our refuge in the psalms.

Kathleen Norris, in The Cloister Walk, writes, “For some reason we human beings seem to learn best how to love when we’re a bit broken, when our plans fall apart, when our myths of our self-sufficiency and goodness and safety are shattered.” How right she is. We learn best in suffering, in loss, in pain. This pandemic has taught us many lessons. Lessons such as: Love is all that matters in the end, and our only refuge is to be found in the everlasting arms of God.

When we are stripped of all the accouterments of life, we are left with our faith and our call to love one another as He loved us first. The challenge for us is not to wait until a crisis to claim this, but to always take our refuge in God – not in material goods, not in power, not in food, money or booze, but in the Lord who came to give life and shelter to us all.

Melissa +

God is my refuge,
A retreat for my soul
Where life and its pressure
Cannot take their toll.

His wings watch over me,
A shelter they provide
Whenever I am weary
A perfect place to hide.

He will protect me,
I will not be harmed
For He has me encased
In His everlasting arms.

God is my refuge,
A safe harbor to which I flee
When I’m being tossed
Upon the storms out at sea.

When I need strength,
For the troubles I get in
I always turn to the Lord
My refuge from within! Amen.

(Deborah Ann Belka)