With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!Psalm 142:1-3 ESV
In this psalm, David is hiding in a cave, but he doesn’t see the cave as his refuge, he sees God as his shelter and protection. “I cry to you, O Lord; I say, you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” David knows choosing God as his refuge means seeking and finding joy in Him. Choosing God as our refuge means He is where we go for protection and peace, He is where we go for strength and comfort. Even though David knows his enemy is searching for him, his protection isn’t the cave. His protection in this trial is the Lord. God will comfort him, God will strengthen Him, God will defend him, God will save him.
If God is our refuge, when we are experience the pains of living in a broken marriage or a fallen world, whether is a momentary conflict or an enduring neglect, our peace isn’t disrupted because His protection is never-changing. His foundation is solid; it is a rock. The problem is we often take refuge in the things of this world, and when they’re disrupted, our foundation breaks away like shifting sand.
What do you take refuge in? Where do you find your joy and your peace? We all earthly places where we put our trust. These are the things we invest our time in and protect. Some look to our financial status is our refuge. If we have money in our accounts, a roof over our head, and food in our refrigerator, we will be okay. When money is our refuge, we spend time earning it and saving it, or spending it on those things we think will bring us joy or peace. We find our comfort and our peace when our bills are paid, and we’ve got a little tucked away. So, when your spouse comes along and spends a little of it in a way that you don’t approve, the foundation you’re standing on suddenly starts to shift. Or perhaps a pandemic shaped recession hits our economy, and you suddenly find yourself furloughed. Within a matter of days, the foundation of your refuge begins to crumble and you no longer find the comfort you once felt when you look at your portfolio.
Maybe you take refuge in your relationship or in the stability and peace of your home. You find your comfort in things going according to plan, so you invest your time in making sure everything and everyone is okay. Your house is immaculate, dinner is always on the table, your family has game night. You control your home and the people in it because this is your place of refuge, and you don’t want anyone to disrupt it. Here you can hide from the world, find rest in front of your favorite Netflix show, and keep your door closed to the evil in the world. So, when disagreements threaten the people in your home, or your spouse has a different plan for your weekend, you lose your joy. Or when a crisis threatens the peace of your home with chaos, the foundation of your refuge crumbles under your feet.
The list goes on. There are countless things of the world where we take refuge. They are the places where we find our joy and our peace. If you’re not sure where you’re taking refuge, just look for your greatest heartache or frustration—that’s the thing you’re finding your comfort and joy in. Do you moan when your wife asks you to help you with the house on the weekend? Your refuge might be your easy chair or your ability to control your schedule. Are you hurt when your spouse doesn’t acknowledge your anniversary in the manner you think is worthy of a social media post? Your refuge may be your relationship or what other people think of you.
God promises to be our refuge forever. He is a firm rock on which we can stand. He never shifts, He never crumbles, He is solid. He will provide you with everything you need to find joy and peace in this world. David knew if his joy was in God, and not in things or people, the nothing could threaten him. If we take our fears and our frustrations to God, nothing can destroy our peace.
If you feel your marriage crumbling around you, start by confessing that you are seeking joy in things other than Him. Ask for forgiveness, then receive the complete assurance that He has forgiven you. Ask Him to help you find your ever-lasting, all-satisfying joy in Him alone. Turn your heart from wherever you have been taking refuge, and set your heart on who God is as revealed through His Word. Meditate on the love God has for you, on the power and protection of His hand over you as His child, on the good He has planned for your life through your struggles. Seek your joy in Christ alone.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗