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But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11

Years ago now the news broke in my area of a young person who died tragically in a house fire. What made the death even more of a tragedy is that when he heard the smoke detectors in the middle of the night, he got scared and hid under his bed. When his parents frantically checked his room they didn’t see him and thought him to be outside. He was too scared to answer their calls.

By the time they realized he hadn’t made it outside it was too late. The young man perished from smoke inhalation. The fire was put out quickly. The rest of the family, while devastated at the loss of a loved one, was able to rebuild and go on with life. But the wound of that night haunted them for years. “He was so close to safety,” his dad remarked, “yet his fear was so much greater than his understanding of the situation it twisted his thinking with deadly consequences.”

When we are afraid, for whatever reason, we naturally look for a safe place to regroup. We seek a refuge that will protect us from further pain or harm, a place where we can feel safe and comforted. A place of refuge that will allow us to reach the full potential of our being.

The strength of our refuge determines the amount of peace, safety and healing we take with us on the journey. Some take refuge from emotional pain in new relationships. But relationships are fickle at best and can’t offer the lasting peace we crave. People who aren’t comfortable with the relationship they have with themselves find it difficult, if not impossible, to find true fulfillment in relationship with someone else.

Others seek refuge in addictive behaviors, anger, religious experience, careers, social action and a variety of other things bent on helping them suppress the fear and anxiety in their lives and replace it with comfort and a sense of well-being.

Those who learn how to take refuge in our Heavenly Father find peace in the midst of tragedy; encouragement in the face of disappointment; healing when anger raises its ugly head. Why? Because our human intellect tells us a refuge is protection from the outside, but the eternal, unshakeable refuge we have in God through Jesus Christ is an internal refuge that guards what external refuges can never protect, our souls.

Our bodies will fail us. Old age and/or death are 100% likely for each of us. Relationships will fail. Careers will end. Dreams will slip away in the night. But there is nothing in the seen or the unseen world that will ever break through the refuge of our souls that Jesus Christ offers us.

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for the protection that you offer us through Jesus Christ. I thank you that we can find complete inner peace and safety when we take refuge in you. I confess I too often seek refuge from things that don’t last. Empower me to learn how to rest in the refuge you can give so in the midst of my adversity I can find rest. Amen.

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