Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Father of Refuge

I recently received the above picture from a new friend at my church who was in attendance at my beloved brother- and sister-in-law's wedding this past summer. The wedding ceremony had ended and the friends and family were advancing to the reception, stopping to take pictures along the way. As my family wandered down through the garden, my son fell, scraping his legs and cutting his ankle. It wasn't a deep wound, but it drew blood and needed to be bandaged. A nearby proactive mother had already reached into her purse and withdrawn a single bandaid for our use. We sat down on a garden bench, followed by the wiping of tears and a few quiet sniffles as the bandage was placed.

The wounds weren't permanent, but the moment shared between father and child was a precious one, and I'm grateful for the picture as a reminder. The moment reminds me of a psalm I read this past week:

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge. (Psalm 16:1)

This is the concept of God as a refuge, a safe place, a provider of shelter and healing and comfort, a defender and protector. 

A recent (and strange) example of this: I recently woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, with an overwhelming sense of fear. I had a feeling of pressure, weightiness, and...the phrase that comes to mind is "dark presence" surrounding me. Whether it was simply a nightmare or some sort of demonic thing, the only response I could muster was to call on the name of Jesus, invoking his name and presence and protection. The fear dissipated, replaced by peace and security. I don't know what happened in that dark moment, but I knew that God would be a source of strength.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)

If I'm God's child--if He is my Father--then I don't have to be afraid. I have a refuge. I have someone to run to with my wounds and scrapes and fears and anxieties, a Father who is ever-present in my moments of crisis. He bandages my wounds and replaces my fear with comfort and peace.

What wounds and fears do you need to bring to the Father today?

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