2004-03-29 - Refuge
Psalm 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
In the past, I have done a summer questions series where I ask for questions on any topic and then try to handle them in a devotional manner. A lot of these questions have to do with theological confusion, or personal issues regarding life. Some come in as real crisis matters, where the person is simply looking for a reason to keep living and not go the rout of self-murder. My conclusion has generally been that people who are thinking about the ultimate "out" of this life are not really looking to kill themselves, but rather are seeking a last resort solution to the pains and struggles that have invaded their life. I don't sense that people are really looking to die, but rather, they are seeking release from the fears and anxieties of life.
In some measure we all seek relief. We are also prone to seek solace in all the wrong places. It may not be the temptation to end our earthly existence, but when we struggle, we all have our sanctuary to give us comfort. It can be any number of things, some of which may not be sin in themselves. But when we flee our struggles here on earth, by indulging in something that is also earthly, we cheat ourselves of the real solution. When we look to that which is fading and passing away to meet our needs, we are simply substituting one temporal reality for another.
Christians know that there is really only one place to go when we are looking for ease from the unpleasant realities that sin brings to our lives. That refuge is Christ, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, through our prayers, and applying the peace of Christ to our struggles. When we seek refuge in any other place, we are left with an emptiness that still needs to be met. "I cried out to Thee, O Lord; I said, 'Thou art my refuge, my portion in the land of the living,'" Psalm 142:5. David can speak from experience here because he, like we often do, sought refuge in ways that dishonored his faith in the savior to come.
It was said of Archbishop Leighton that, "He was never out of temper in all his life." This means that no one ever saw him fly off the handle, get mad, or lose it. We ought to live our lives in a manner that we never look for refuge, from the pains that this life brings us, in any other place than in Christ. What a wonder would it be to know a person of whom we could say, "I never saw him flee for refuge anywhere but to Christ in all his life." How even greater would it be to actually be that person of whom it is said.
The things of the world are passing. The things of the world never ultimately satisfy our needs. They are recycled Band-Aids at best. The only place for the Christian to find refuge and solace is in Christ. When we look anywhere else, we may experience a momentary pickup, but it is always fleeting. Colossians 1:27 speaks of Christ being the hope of glory for us, and while much of that is still future, we can still experience tastes of that glory here on earth by searching for our refuge in Christ alone.
Soli Deo Gloria,