The day appeared calm enough, but Mother Nature soon released her hidden fury.
My brother and I and my daughter set out early for a ten-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. We planned to set up camp at the five-mile point and walk the remainder of the way without our packs.
As we reached our destination, thunder greeted us. We were familiar with mountain storms and decided to set up camp. We felt the first drops of rain within minutes of driving the last tent stake. Then came a torrential downpour with lighting to match. There was no safe place to seek refuge. We huddled on our rubber sleeping mats, hoping lightning wouldn’t strike the tall pines above us.
After sitting for what seemed like hours, we darted to a trail shelter that sat a mere one hundred yards away. Through pouring rain, intermittent lightning, and puddled water, we made it to our refuge, where we remained for the next several hours, listening as storm after storm marched through the mountains. Although our refuge was only a three-sided shelter, we felt secure.
David’s enemies were numerous. Among them were lions, bears, Philistines, giants, a jealous king, and even a son. But, regardless of who or what they were, David found refuge in a big God whom he trusted to protect him.
“Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge” (Psalm 25:20 NLT).
I’ve sought refuge in healthy and unhealthy things. At the end of a stressful day, I love taking refuge in an enjoyable book. I cherish it when my wife and I can go to a restaurant alone. And sitting in our old glider on our back patio in the fall of the year is also nice.
But I’ve also attempted to find refuge in unhealthy things during stressful times. Instead of running to God, I ran to addictions or unhealthy relationships. They brought only temporary satisfaction and a foreboding sense of guilt that I was looking in the wrong place.
Where David found refuge is where we should. A healthy relationship with a loving Savior is the only thing that will bring satisfaction, contentment, and peace. All other things and people will disappoint. God always loves unconditionally and protects faithfully. Friendships and family can be the icing on the cake, but they can never take God’s place.
Martin Wiles is an author, pastor, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina. He is the founder and editor of the internationally recognized website, Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and an Administrator/Editor for Vinewords.net. He has authored seven books. His most recent is Don’t Just Live…Really Live.He has also been published in numerous publications. He is the husband of one, the father of two, and the grandfather of six.