Shoppers flee from gunfire. Women cower from abusers. Children run from bombs. Teenagers weep from addiction. A woman posts on social media after another mass shooting: “Is no place safe anymore?”
“God is our refuge and strength” becomes more than a psalmic platitude, a comforting verse to write in a note to the grieving when our worlds collapse. It’s true that we fear when formerly physically safe places are invaded, but when wounds bleed not only from our bodies but from our innermost beings, we’re tempted to despair.
How is God our refuge? How do we run into the fortress he claims to be? Jesus promises that we who are in the Father’s hand cannot be “snatched” or seized. We who have run to God for our salvation are promised safekeeping, not from that which can smother physical life but from all that would dare endanger the soul.
Though the melody is difficult, a hymn written by Martin Luther, rings true during these fear-filled days:
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing… ”
His craft and power are great…
From age to age the same…
…He must win the battle…
When my heart trembles and my mind goes to “what if,” it is then I retreat into God’s refuge, thanking him for his presence and power, believing—perhaps with small faith—that it is possible to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let (my) requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard (my) hearts and mind through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
By Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission
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