2 Metaphorical Sketches
This morning I was thinking about a fortress. And I was thinking that sometimes I feel like one. Sometimes I feel like a fortress of stone as I read my Bible, and that the words on the pages are like pebbles hurled ineffectually against mighty walls. Tiny pebbles, a great fortress.
I had built the fortress for my own protection. Stone by stone, over the years, I made its walls strong. Or so I thought. Here within my fortress no enemy could harm me. Here within my fortress, I was king. Here, I could shout my arrogant commands from the lofty battlements. Here I was safe. Here I was strong.
What does it mean to seek the refuge of the Lord? It means to admit that your own refuge, your fortress, is a smoke-and-mirrors illusion, and never did protect you from anything. In any case those walls, even had they been suitable to keep an enemy out, were built too late. The enemy is, and has always been, within.
To seek the refuge, the rock, the strong tower of the Lord, is to trade illusions for reality. To place our hope in eternal things. To see ourselves as we really are.
It's like this: I live in a desert. This desert is the world. That's okay, though, because I have my canteen, and it's kind of a special canteen because it never goes dry. It's the water of life, and I carry it with me wherever I go. And sometimes I come upon a thirsty man or woman who doesn't have any water. And then sometimes I think, If I offer him this water, he might think I'm forcing it on him. Better to be polite and wait till he asks. And other times I speak up and say, Keep looking, you'll find it someday. I'll pray for you. But every once in a while I say, Here. I have water that never runs out.