My eyes flitter open at the sound of rumbling. Flashes of light dance through darkness. Soon the quiet gives way to the steady sound of rain. I turn over and readjust under the covers and thank God for the thunder, lightning, and rain. Peace envelops me.
But not everyone in the home feels the same way about thunderstorms. Soon the high-pitched voice pierces my peaceful moment. “Mommy, I’m scared of the storm. Can you come lay with me?”
I walk into Alyssa’s room and lie down on one side of the twin bed. She turns to face me, puts one arm under my neck, the other over my neck, and presses her cheek against mine. I don’t have to say a word to her; my embrace is all the comfort she needs. I breathe in the scent of her freshly-washed hair and get lost in the moment.
About a half hour later, I kiss her on the forehead and begin to get up.
“Mommy, are the storms over?”
“Yes, sweetie, they’re over. Good night.”
She turns over to face the wall and I walk back to my bed. I drift to sleep at the sound of the gentle rain.
In the morning, she walks out of her room, bleary-eyed, long red curls falling around her face. I pick her up and sway her back and forth like I when did she was a baby. Instead of her normal morning request – “mommy, I want a pop tart” – her first words are, “Cuddling with you in a thunderstorm is my very favorite thing.”
I would have expected Alyssa’s first thoughts to be, that thunderstorm was scary. But instead, fear wasn’t on her mind. It had melted away in my embrace, and the comfort she felt was her memory.
Before Alyssa awoke that morning, I had been reading in Psalm 7:
“Lord my God, I seek refuge in You; save me from all my pursuers and rescue me, or they will tear me like a lion, ripping me apart, with no one to rescue me” (Psalm 7:1-2 HCSB).
Though I’m only in chapter 7 of my Psalm Bible reading plan, the word refuge has been a common theme so far. I think God is trying to drive home a point. He is our refuge.
I saw that in a tangible way with Alyssa. I was her refuge. Once she was in my arms her fears melted away. All she knew was that she was safe and she could trust me. God wants me to run to him and experience such depths of peace and trust in his embrace as well.
Verse 2 above shows – rather graphically – what the alternative is. Without God as my refuge, I will be torn apart.
It’s easy to dismiss this verse if we’re living in physical safety, but I think about lots of things that could potentially tear us apart in a metaphoric sense:
- Fear of the unknown
- Subtle or not-so-subtle verbal “attacks” from others
- Feeling like we’re not good enough
Whether from without or from within, many of us face attacks that threaten to tear us apart. Many times we’re tempted to seek out counterfeit refuge in the form of comfort food, alcohol, drugs, relationships, entertainment, or other places that will never truly protect us or rescue us.
Our only refuge is our Father.
Alyssa didn’t ask for her stuffed animals in the storm. She didn’t ask for a snack. She didn’t even ask for the light to be turned on. All she wanted was my presence.
Do you feel like you’re on the verge of being torn apart? Run to the Lord your God and he will be your unfailing refuge.
*David made a point in Psalm 77:1 to address God as Lord MY God. In order for us to run to God as our refuge, we must know him as the Lord MY God. Jesus, God’s Son, said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). How do we know God? “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). If you don’t know God through a relationship with Jesus Christ, He is waiting today to save you and to be your refuge.