What is a refuge? It is defined as a safe state of being, or a shelter from danger and misfortune. The word itself is from the Latin refugium, meaning ‘flee back’. All of the following are classified as a refuge in one form or another: a tent, a building, a fortified tower, a mountain, an armored vehicle, an umbrella, a safe haven financial investment, a protected harbor, a closed flower blossom, and the loving arms of a caring mother. Yet not one of these will last forever. Some will be destroyed; others will disintegrate, or be subject to extreme winds or flooding, and theft or death may strike the rest.
Yet there is one kind of protection that is impossible to destroy. It is a sanctuary that is greater than anything we can comprehend. But don’t look for it as a physical object, a philosophical concept, or a mythical being. Its existence is declared best in Psalm 46, verse 1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And He is, in fact, our only refuge that really matters.
Over and over throughout the Bible we find comforting promises of refuge:
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
“The God of my rock; in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence” (2 Samuel 22:3).
“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”Psalm 9:9
“…I will sing of Thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning: for Thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble” (Psalm 56:16).
“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust” (Psalm 91:2).
“I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5).
“For Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall” (Psalm 25:4).
“O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction” (Jeremiah 16:19).
Is your day filled with difficulties and distress? Then God is willing to be your refuge. Are you struggling with anguish and affliction? Your refuge is God. Are you under trials and persecution? God is still your refuge.
Have the pressures of your job and the stress of commuting to and from it left you feeling crazy? Refrain from taking it all on yourself, because God is to be your “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
God is always greater than any of our problems and circumstances. Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). He is our ‘safe state of being’ and ‘a shelter from danger and misfortune.’ No matter what we are going through, He is there and ready to take us inside His refuge.
All God desires is for us to put our faith and trust in Him, and Him alone. When we cling to some man-made methodology or rule and simultaneously try to escape into His presence, it will never work. It is like trying to erect a tent or shelter in the middle of a fierce rainstorm, and wondering why we are soaking wet. As long as we cling to this world’s system for help, God cannot provide the refuge that we need.
When Jesus sacrificed His life on a cross in our place almost two thousand years ago, He made a way for us to enter into God’s kingdom, and be sheltered from the storms in our life. By admitting our wrongdoings to Him, then giving them up completely and surrendering our life over to Him, we enable Him to be our protection from adversity. There is nothing complicated about this—God just wants us to believe in Him.
Through thick or thin, it is God who wants to be the only refuge we will ever need. “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.” (Psalm 91:2). Is He your fortress and high tower right now? Or are you trusting in your frail and fallible self?
“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us”(Psalm 62:7,8 emphasis added).
For more information on making God your refuge, please visit our page on The Way to God.