The pilot had left the seatbelt sign on. There had been quite a few bumps as we ascended into the sky. I looked out my plane window early in the morning and was surprised by beauty. The clouds completely obscured the world below which had been cloudy and not very pleasant. However, above the stomach churning induced by the clouds, the sun shone brilliantly. My mind began to wander. How does a pilot know where they are when all they can see are clouds? How do the other pilots know where we are in relation to where they are? And the butterflies that had taken up residence in my stomach began to flutter a little more than normal.
And then, I was struck by beauty again. My heavenly Father, the Maker of the Clouds was the Creator of all of this majesty. Some looked like swirls of cotton candy. Some pillared high. Others spread themselves thin. Each cloud hard to differentiate from all of the rest.
And if the Maker of the Clouds is this creative with His talents here, then He is also keeping an eye on me. As I was reminded of these truths and as I continued to pray through bumps, the butterfly’s wings waging war in my mid-section began to be still. I was again reminded of all of the ways I had been shown the provision of the Lord over the course of my journey. The plane delays, the power outages, the missed flight all could have conspired together to prove that I was only a small peon in a machine of great frustration. Instead, I was reminded that the Father had been with me all along. I could have been a mess of tension and angst, but instead, I knew His presence was with me keeping me calm and alert in the midst of tiredness and others’ frustrations.
Refuge has been a word I’ve been pondering. Refuge, according to the dictionary, means a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble, something providing shelter.
There are many ways to seek refuge. Some build high towers, others build castles, homes are built behind walls. And while some build these actual structures, more build the same security measure around their hearts. In an attempt to make it all go perfectly well, the illusion of control makes everything feel fine, safe, protected. However, one tiny moment can reveal that the illusion of control is exactly that, a facade. And what was perceived to be a perfect refuge is suddenly a heap of rubble.
Where do I look for refuge? My home has been a refuge. My four walls keep the outside out and give me security of a place that is my own. Family provides safety. They are a sounding board and a listening ear. I have found security with close friends. The ones who have my back and support me through thick and thin.
But, before any of these other locations or people can be the refuge my life craves, my Heavenly Father is the refuge my heart is desperate for. Do I look to Him first? Sometimes. On my most recent adventure, events arose that in the past would have sent me into a tumble of anxiety. Anxious for control, my heart would have sped up, my emotions grown more fragile and my nerves a tumbled mess. But this was one time where I knew that all of my attempts to provide for my own refuge would be absolutely useless.
But what joy for all who take refuge in Him. Psalm 2:12b (NLT)
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 2:12b (ESV)
My only option was to seek my refuge in the One who is the Lover of my Soul. Silent prayers ascended to Him. I chose to make Him the refuge, the source of stalwart strength that I needed. And I was reminded again that He was with me. There was no other refuge that would have been enough. Too much uncertainty was part of this process. But He was with me and so there was joy in the middle of unplanned experiences. This was the blessing my soul craved, the evidence to my heart that with Him as my refuge I am secure.