A while back I came home exhausted after a full day of ministry. I was immersed in personal study, administrative work, meetings, and teaching. That was the easy part. Once the work day was over I spent another three hours counseling various individuals about a whole host of issues that were plaguing their lives. One can imagine, when I got home just before 9:00 p.m., that I was spent.
But I wasn’t just tired physically. I was tired spiritually and emotionally. The burdens of the day proved to be too much for me, and I knew I needed a kind of rest that my warm bed couldn’t provide. So, instead of going home and sitting in my recliner to watch the playoffs to get my mind off things, I opened the Bible and read these words from our Lord: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). It was the refreshment my soul needed. After a day of hard work and carrying the burdens of others, I needed to hear that. “God is our refuge and strength.”
Now, how about you? Have you ever been so physically tired that your body wants rest but your mind is so burdened that you cannot sleep? See, this was one of those days for me. Sleep wasn’t going to be enough. I needed rest for my soul. Even more than that, my heart needed a refuge from the burdens of the day.
A refuge is a place where small, frail people like you and me can find shelter. Think of a fierce army pursuing you in the open field, and there is nowhere to run. Their chariots are blazing, their bows are bent, and their swords are unsheathed. Your only hope is to run and hide in the King’s castle. Once you’re in, the gates shut and lock you away. Inside you find rest, safety, and refreshment from your weary travails. The enemy cannot touch you here because you are protected by the King’s army and the stronghold of His fortress.
But, it is not as if you go in and you’re locked away in a room by yourself while the armies defeat your foes. No, God is “a very present help in our trouble.” Once inside, the King Himself comes to comfort you and provide rest for your weary body. He tends to your afflictions and pours the oils of His grace and mercy over your wounds. In this moment it doesn’t matter what troubles the day presented you with, because you are secure within the refuge of your God. He is your strength. He is your helper.
In fact, the Psalmist feels so safe in the Lord’s refuge that he declares, “We will not fear though the Earth gives way” (46:2a). No matter what circumstances surround you, if you are enveloped in the love and strength of God, you will remain safe, even if the foundations of the earth itself were to crumble.
Dear Christian, preach these truths to your soul during times of trouble. When the burdens of the day prove to be too much, remind your heart that, “God is our refuge and strength.” When the troubles of life pursue you like a fierce army in the midst of battle, hide yourself within the fortress of our God who “is a very present help in trouble.”
- Where do you turn in times of trouble and when you need rest and refreshment?
- How will you prepare to preach these truths to your soul during the next season of trials and trouble in your life?
This week’s devotional was written by EBG Contributing Writer Brandon Sutton. He serves as the Lead Pastor of Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana and as the Director of the Grace House, a Christ-centered men’s recovery home. He is the grateful husband of Sherrie and the proud father of Emma.