Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one concerned for me.
I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.
I cry to you, Lord; I say “you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Refuge. A place of safety. A hiding place. Shelter.
There are a few places I run to when I need refuge.
A spot not far from my house—high on a hill overlooking the river. I can watch the water endlessly flowing by. When I am anxious, I meet Jesus there and He reminds me that since He controls the wind and the water, He will surely be able to handle my adversities.
In my memories—a mountain in Austria called Planai. This was the first mountain I climbed and the first place I heard God speak. When I am losing hope, I meet Jesus there and He reminds me that He will speak again.
In visions friends have received for me—a rope bridge swinging across a deep canyon. When I am overwhelmed, I meet Jesus there. Our eyes lock and I confidently cross that perilous bridge to where He embraces me on the other side.
In the meeting place of my heart—a meadow full of flowers of every colour. When I am lonely, I meet Jesus there. And we dance in that field of precious flowers.
Where do you run when you need refuge? Can you go there right now or later today? Or can you simply close your eyes and spend five minutes there in your heart, mind, or memory?
Here is the most wondrous thing. We all go somewhere different but we can all meet Jesus there. Because it’s not really the place that matters, it’s the presence of God. These places, whether in the physical or spiritual realm, become holy ground for us. Places of safety and refuge. Places where we behold the glory of God. Places where we receive healing and peace. Places where we worship the King.
For me, the challenge is for these places to be where I dwell all the time. God has given me these places—given me Himself—for more than just the times when I feel anxious, desperate, or alone.
I want to be dancing in the meadow during a meeting at work. Boldly crossing the bridge while unloading the dishwasher. Gazing at the mighty river while coaching soccer.
I pray to you, O Lord. You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.
It is not necessary to be always in church to be with God, we can make a private chapel of our hearts where we can retire from time to time to commune with Him, peacefully, humbly, lovingly; everyone is capable of these intimate conversations with God, some more, others less; He knows what we can do. Let us begin—perhaps He is only waiting for a single generous resolution from us. Have courage.
—Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
Reflection on Psalm 142
The Calm in The Storm (a reflection on the psalms)