The image of God as refuge is powerful. At its core, a refuge is any space that provides safety and shelter from danger or chaos. But as followers of Christ, we do not always find ourselves in safe or sheltered situations. Depending upon where we live or what we are exposed to daily, our need for a place of shelter is a very real concern. Can we talk about God as refuge or fortress when we are not safe ourselves? If we are safe, can we tell those in dangerous settings that God is their refuge too?
The psalmist answers with a resounding yes. To understand God as shelter and place of safety implies that we ultimately rest in God rather than in the circumstances of our lives. We then live in such a way that we become the embodiment of God as shelter and refuge for those who are unsafe or in danger. What would such embodiment look like? It could entail making a space at your table for a child who comes home to an empty house after school. Perhaps a neighbor with limited means would appreciate a meal. It could be as simple as taking time to speak with friends and neighbors about their issues or concerns.
As we work to embody a safe space of refuge for others, we begin as does the psalmist: in silence before God. But we do not stay in a place of silence. The psalmist reminds us that our trust and deliverance comes from our relationship with God. Once we find our hope in God alone, we share it authentically. We affirm God as hope, rock, salvation, fortress, deliverance, honor, and refuge. We move from the sacred space of silent reverence and anticipation and begin to embody hope for others. We learn that God is indeed a refuge for us all.
Sheltering God, move within my life as a refuge and place of hope. Help me to find my rest in you. Amen.
Things are not always as they seem. To Jonah it appears that the people of Nineveh are beyond hope, so he runs away rather than going to preach to them. God has other plans; to Jonah’s surprise, the Ninevites turn to God. To our eyes, social standing and wealth may seem to divide people into different classes; but the psalmist declares that in God’s economy, all are equal and will be repaid the same. Paul echoes the theme of the temporary nature of all things in this life; they should not be our source of security. Jesus opens his ministry in Mark by proclaiming that God is breaking into history to overthrow what has been accepted as the way things are. Sometimes God’s perspective is not our perspective.
• Read Jonah 3:1-5, 10. When have you experienced God’s call to a task you would have preferred not to undertake? What happened? What did you learn about God?
• Read Psalm 62:5-12. When have you experienced God as refuge and fortress? How do you actively embody God’s hope and offer it to others?
• Read 1 Corinthians 7:29-31. How lightly do you hold your job, your relationships, your possessions, given the passing nature of the present age?
• Read Mark 1:14-20. When have you heard Jesus call to you to follow? How did you respond?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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