For several years I’ve asked God to give me a word for the year – one word to focus on, instead of a bunch of resolutions. It’s been a meaningful spiritual discipline… waiting on Him, listening for Him, seeking Him.
And then learning to live out the meaning of the word, day by day, month by month through the year.
The word that He’s given me for 2015 is REFUGE.
“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I trust in Him.” Psalm 91:2 NLT
He alone is my escape, my retreat, my sanctuary. He alone is my shelter, my fortress, my Rock.
More than I care to admit, I’ve sought refuge in all kinds of other places… escape from pain — physical, emotional, or spiritual. I’ve looked for safety, security, approval, affirmation, comfort, encouragement, and strength from people or things never meant to meet those needs.
I know I have a lot to learn about what it looks like to truly make Him my refuge. To find refuge in Him and Him alone.
When my heart hurts, what does it look like to find refuge in Him instead of “comfort” food?
When I’m stressed or anxious, what does it look like to lean on Him instead of trying to solve everything or fix everything in my own wisdom, my own strength?
When I’m bored or sad or frustrated or discouraged, or on long nights, when my body is wracked with pain — what will it look like to turn to Him instead of trying to distract myself with old movies and favorite TV shows or endless online shopping?
Will He be enough?
Will He be there?
Here’s what His Word says:
“God is our Refuge and Strength… a very present and well-proved help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him… He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:1-4 NLT
“You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope.” Psalm 119:114 NIV
“You are the Comfort in my sorrow. Your promise gives me life.” Psalm 119:50 NIV
“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5 ESV
“It is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.” Hebrews 6:18 NLT
“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8 NLT
“O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8 NLT
“Lord, I cry out to you for help: You are my place of safety [refuge]. You are all I need…” Psalm 142:5 RSV
To help me remember this Truth, to help me really receive it, believe it, and put it into practice, I’m sharing it here with you… I’ve also created some collages for my journal and started collecting things – a necklace, a ring, a mug – with that word REFUGE.
Last week at a retreat, one of the women brought us some beautiful rocks she found during a walk along the property. She explained she liked to think of them as “story stones” – each one telling a story. She invited us to look over the stones and choose one that spoke to us. This is the one I chose:
As I picked it up and turned it over, I thought of my word for the year and of the words of this beautiful little hymn by Fanny Crosby…
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.
Lord, teach me this year as never before, what it means to find refuge in You.