My Refuge

April 28, 2020 | Church | Natashia McVay

I have many childhood memories that include fun times with friends and family, playing outdoors, reading books that sparked my imagination, and being taught the necessities of life. Among my memories, one in particular comes to mind whenever challenges or troubles arise. It’s the memory of my mother teaching me Scripture.

For a number of years my mother home-schooled my sister and me. Like most things in life, there were positives and negatives. A positive aspect of home schooling was that when we got our daily work done, we were free to enjoy other things. A negative was that we always seemed to be doing school. My mother wanted us to be well prepared for the world and what lay ahead. We studied all the regular subjects, including math, English, science and history.

Our Bible class received special attention. My mother did her best to teach my sister and me the importance of Jesus in our lives. She would ask us to memorize Bible verses. Often, my sister and I would pick the shortest passages in a bid to make it easier on ourselves. Occasionally, though, my mother would pick the passage or passages for us. She was never pushy but rather used the opportunity to press into our budding minds the words from Scripture.

Out of all the verses I memorized as a child, the passage I remember most is Psalm 91. Yes, the entire chapter. I remember it because I thought at the time it was impossible to memorize. It was too long, I complained often. My mother was unmoved, insisting my sister and I memorize that chapter. It wasn't until years later that I came to truly appreciate her persistance. 

Today, when I'm faced with uncertainty, my mind goes back to this psalm:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday
.[1]

When I recite or when I read this chapter, I'm reminded I am safe in God's loving embrace. He promises to be like a mighty castle surrounded by warriors that excel in strength to guard and shield me.  When the world around me seems to be falling apart, I find peace knowing God is with me.

Right now, the world is definitely facing troubling times. It's at times like this I'm reminded of what some of my favorite Bible heroes — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego — said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from your majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up”[2]

I was reading this story the other day, and it occured to me that their declaration of faith directly relates to Psalm 91. God often shields us from harm and danger, but He also is with us when we are going through trials and persecution. Yes, God is concerned for our welfare, but He is also with us when we struggle and suffer on this earth.

These two passages affirm the same truth. God is always with me. That’s it. He is always with me!

God will always be a stronghold for my faith. He will never leave me, but He may not take me out of this world, just as He did not take those three Hebrew boys out of the furnace. Rather, He walked in the furnace with them. Their belief in God’s love for them was not dependent on their protection or deliverance. It was simply based on their knowledge that God was with them and cared for them.

When I am faced with trials, danger and uncertainty, I have a choice to make. Either I dig down into a hole of fear and despair or I can look up and remember who is with me through everything.

During this difficult time in Earth’s history, where everyday things seem to change dramatically, almost unrecognizably, I choose to remember the words that I learned so long ago: “… My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust … He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge.”

Uncertain and frightening times are an invitation to look to Jesus, my constant companion, rescuer, redeemet, and soon-returning, triumphant King.

 

[1] Psalm 91:1–2, 5–6, NIV

[2] Dan. 3:17–18, NIV