Oh, we say the words so easily, so blithely! Have we stopped to think exactly what these phrases are describing?
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.
(from Psalm 46)
When the earthquakes come and the mountains crumble. That’s devastation, friends.
Has your world been shaken? When our lives fall apart, what then?
Then the Lord is here among us.
My paraphrase of Psalm 61:2-3:
Wherever I am, Lord, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Then lead me to the rock that is higher than I. You’re my safe refuge, a fortress that protects me from the enemy.
When my world crumbles and dissolves, when my heart is overwhelmed, then He leads me to a place where I am safe from the enemy.
Isn’t that comforting?
Disaster does paralyze us sometimes. Grief or attack or illness or tragedy—whatever it is that shakes our world—can be used by the enemy against us. God offers a refuge though. Even when we are so overwhelmed we cannot even crawl to Him, He leads us to a rock higher than ourselves.
Yes, there are times we are so battered by the storm that we need the Lord simply to pick us up and carry us to shelter and protection. I believe that’s one of the things the Holy Spirit does. He is the Lord here among us. He helps us when we have been flattened by disaster. He leads us — carries us even —to the Rock.
The Rock is higher than I. He is so much greater and so beyond my own resources—He is the refuge when I’m overwhelmed.
Isaiah picks up the same theme:
Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal rock. (Isaiah 26:4)
A Rock. Solid. Immovable. Always there in times of trouble. Higher than I. So much more than I. What better place to put my trust?
And, interestingly, this verse follows that one we know so well:
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you; all whose thoughts are fixed on you. (verse 3)
Trusting the eternal Rock for refuge and safety—that is peace. Even when the mountains crumble and my world falls apart, I trust the Father to keep me safe.
Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.