Refuge in God
By Dennis Edwards
A friend and I have been talking about the uneasiness we feel with all that is taking place in the world right now, and the questions that can come with that, such as: Is the end near? Will the endtime prophecies be fulfilled in our lifetime? What does God want me to do? Are my family and I where God wants us to be? If not, where do we go? We wish we could just fly away to some secret place and find peace and quiet from the storms of life that seem to be roaring all around us.
When we start having those types of thoughts, worries, and anxieties, the best thing to do is to stop and seek God. Seek God in His Word. Seek God in praise and song. Seek God in desperate prayer. He promises to answer when we seek Him with all our heart.
David in the Psalms wrote, My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness.1
But what did David do in this situation of distress? Did he just stay there worried? No, he sought refuge in prayer. As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.2
David finishes on a positive note, and we should, too. He wrote, [God has] delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me. … Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.3
God promises in His Word to be the refuge that we seek. In Isaiah we read, For thou has been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat.4
So we indeed can find the peace of heart and mind we seek by seeking God and finding Him. We need to keep our minds on Him. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.5
The trouble is that the enemy of our soul tries to get our minds on the winds and waves of the moment and forget that we have God on our side. Luke recorded Jesus’ words about the last days:
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.6
Those words may very well be describing the state of the world today with the great uncertainty of tomorrow. Suicide and domestic violence have increased in these days of anxiety. What are we as Christians supposed to do? How shall we walk? How are we to react?
Again, if we look to God’s Word for guidance, we can find many passages that offer counsel and comfort and strength. Let us look at a few. The first command that God gave Moses and Joshua as they began the conquest of the Promised Land, a land full of giants and nations stronger than the Israelites, was:
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that does go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.7 And the Lord, he it is that does go with thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.8
The Lord told them not to be discouraged, not to be dismayed, not to have fear, but to be strong and of good courage, to be brave, because the Lord would be with them whithersoever they went. God knows that fear incapacitates us. Fear is the opposite of faith and stops us from trusting God and His care for us.
Because fear has torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.9 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.10
God wants us to overcome fear through faith. God wants to direct us. He wants to use us to our capacity. Our job is to seek Him diligently and desperately to know what He would have us do. And when fear and worry enter in, we can follow David’s example:
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.11
Using praise in times of anxiety and trouble, coupled with spending time in God’s Word, will help to bring us the victory and the clarity of mind and heart we seek. God will be our refuge. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusts in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.12
We don’t know how long it will be “until these calamities be overpast,” but God has promised to be with us. He has promised to be a shelter in the time of storm. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior. … Fear not: for I am with thee.13
One night the disciples traveled with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. A storm broke out, and the vessel was about to be overcome with the waves and sea roaring. The disciples went and woke up Jesus, who was asleep in the rear of the boat. Jesus said to the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?14
Let us draw nigh to God in full assurance of faith that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to His power that works in us.15 If God be for us, who can be against us?16 As David has said, “In God have I put my trust, I will not be afraid,”17 for He will uphold me with the right hand of His righteousness.18
1 Psalm 55:4–7.
2 Psalm 55:16–17.
3 Psalm 55:18, 22.
4 Isaiah 25:4.
5 Isaiah 26:3.
6 Luke 21:25–26.
7 Deuteronomy 31:6.
8 Deuteronomy 31:8.
9 1 John 4:18.
10 2 Timothy 1:7.
11 Psalm 56:3–4.
12 Psalm 57:1.
13 Isaiah 43:2–3, 5.
14 Mark 4:39–40.
15 Ephesians 3:20.
16 Romans 8:31.
17 Psalm 56:11.
18 See Isaiah 41:10.