Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

March 04, 2004


I keep thinking about refuge. I keep thinking about the refuge of the Lord. Happy is the man whose refuge is in the Lord God Almighty. I think that from a very early age we know one thing: we know we need a refuge. If we're lucky, our father and mother provide us with a degree of refuge, but we soon learn that even they are not entirely dependable. What about the night, after all, when they go away and cannot seem to be found? Who will be my refuge then?

The point is, there is always this sense that we need a protector, someone or someplace that is safe. Everyone knows this feeling. Whether or not they say, God is my refuge, they know that they do need a refuge, and they seek it in all sorts of places. I believe that what we call civilization is little more than the cumulative effort of men and women to provide for themselves this sense of invulnerability. We must quiet our fears somehow. When we were children, and afraid, we wished we could be fearless like the grownups we knew. Now that we're all grown up, we wonder why it's not the way we imagined. Why we still sometimes get scared, or why we hurt others and are hurt by them.

There's truth in the notion that we lost something valuable when we passed from childhood. I think it was the understanding, the knowledge, that we were weak, and in need of help. Blessed is the man who knows where his strength comes from. Blessed is the man who puts not his trust in chariots, or in money, or in intelligence, or in busyness, or in the praise of other men, or in words, or in schemes, or in politics, or in deeds, or even in religion. Blessed is the man whose strength is in the Lord.

Psalm 46

God is our secure shelter;
he is truly our helper in times of trouble.
For this reason we do not fear when the earth shakes,
and the mountains tumble into the depths of the sea,
when its waves crash and foam,
and the mountains shake before the surging sea. (Selah)
The irrigation canals flowing from the river bring joy to the city of God,
the special, holy dwelling place of the Sovereign One.
God lives within it, it cannot be upended.
God rescues it at the break of dawn.
Nations make a commotion, kingdoms are upended.
God gives a battle cry, the earth dissolves.
The Lord, the invincible Warrior, is on our side!
The God of Jacob is our protector! (Selah)
Come! Witness the exploits of the Lord,
who brings devastation to the earth!
He brings an end to wars throughout the earth;
he shatters the bow and breaks the spear;
he burns the shields.
He says, "Stop your striving and recognize that I am God!
I will be exalted over the nations! I will be exalted over the earth!"
The Lord, the invincible Warrior is on our side!
The God of Jacob is our protector! (Selah)


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