“Arms, sheltering Arms, express the loving tenderness of you Father (My Father) in Heaven. Man, in his trouble and difficulty, needs nothing so much as a refuge. a place to hide in. A place where none and nothing can touch him.
Say to yourself, “He is our Refuge.” Say it until it’s truth sinks into your very soul. Say it until you know it-are so sure of it, that nothing can make you afraid.
Feel this, not only until fear goes, but until Joy ripples through in its place. Refuge. Everlasting Arms-so untiring-so safe-so secure.”
This was my reading this morning while the house slept and the world raged outside my peaceful home. While Hurricane Harvey, continued to wreak havoc on the lives of Texans and Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean and while a shipload of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar sank. While 800,000 Dreamers wondered what their future holds, while we all wonder what our future holds as North Korea has its finger on the trigger and everything feels like it’s falling apart. I’m adopting this as my battle cry: “He is our refuge!” “He is our refuge!”
This truth, that Father comes and calms the storm and holds us while we rebuild, it is bread to a hungry world. To Texans and Floridians and Rohingyans and to me. It is a promise that no matter how desperate things become there is a Place. And the Church needs to be the bridge. You and me, we’d better be the bridge between a displaced people and The Refuge. We start by opening our homes, donating money, praying. It is our vow that if you are displaced, we will find you a bed, a meal, clothes, even if we have to take them off our very backs. We will show up and we will love the socks off you because we are the proxy for the King. And even though we just totally suck at it most days, we will keep trying because this life is just a bad afternoon compared to an eternity with The Refuge and we are longing to go there. So, come. Make it your anthem, this commitment to Father as Refuge. “Say it until you know it-are so sure of it, that nothing can make you afraid.”
I’ll be real, sort of pigeon-holed myself into that one, and say that I seek refuge from fear of Abe’s heart condition, which is changing and scaring us, refuge from this new phase in which all my babies are at school and I’m unsure where my place is, refuge from the certainty that things in this world are going to get far, far worse before they show any signs of letting up. I seek refuge from the voices in my head telling me I’m not busy/smart/thin/talented/patient enough. You hear them too, I know you do. Father is your Refuge. He is. He, alone, can still the voices and the storm. He created them both and they know his voice. They listen and they will obey. And you may lay on your bed for a time, your body curled into a question mark as you wonder about the falling apartness around you, but there will be a day, I promise there will, when your body will straighten into an exclamation mark, arms stretched to your Refuge and you will be not afraid anymore. Friend, I am praying you into that posture. I’ve spent hours and days in both the dark and light places and you will too. If all is dark to you right now, hold on…light is coming. If all is light to you right now, hold on…dark is coming. And in both you will hold out your hand and it will be met by The Refuge. Thank God it will be met, always met, by The Refuge.
This is me being real. And actually sitting down to tell you how great my new slippers are and how much I’m coveting the stunning marriage of Anthro and Liberty (move over chocolate and peanut butter), but then feeling like maybe this day was crying out for a little more meat to chew on, so there you go. Nom nom.