Of Fortresses and Faithfulness

-for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

My heart needed a fortress this year. Many things gathered to batter my soul. I know I didn’t recognize the power of their surges against the tenderness that surrounds my heart. I bought and believed lies that were spoken. I believed them hook, line and sinker. I know that by the end of my work year, I had come to a place where I wasn’t sure that I could withstand any more. The reserves were absolutely empty.

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. Psalm 59:16-17 (NIV)

And me? I’m singing your prowess, shouting at cockcrow your largesse, For you’ve been a safe place for me, a good place to hide. Strong God, I’m watching you do it, I can always count on you – God, my dependable love. Psalm 59:16-17 (MSG)

Intellectually, I knew God was the fortress I could count on. But emotionally, His presence seemed farther away than I could fathom. Spiritually, I was in a place of deep silence, frustration and hurt. I remember saying to a friend of mine that I was desperate for God to show up in some sort of way, any way at all. I needed a fortress. I needed some sort of shelter. I needed a tiny injection of hope.

My first entries in my cathedral journal this summer were cries for help. God, what have you got planned? Where are You in all of this? What do You have in mind? Will you show up? Will you reveal Yourself again? Doubts were right there in the midst of the questions. I was not nearly as confident as the Psalmist.

I stood in the ruins of multiple abbeys and cathedrals. Buildings that were meant to draw attention to the majesty of God but had been ruined by the power of human might. The building was no match for the man’s intentions. Simultaneously, the building did little to truly reflect the majesty of God. God is far vaster than my mind can understand.

But those towers of stone drew my attention to the reality that God is the one who is always with me. He is the One who is the true safe tower to run to. The tower of His strength will always endure. It will never be brought to ruin. It cannot be destroyed. No human power raised against His might can possibly endure. He is the one who powerfully helps me persevere in the midst of circumstance. He is the One who is always present whether I can “feel” Him or not. He is the One worthy of my adoration and praise. He is always present and so it is possible to find a song in midst of sorrow. It is possible to find a song in the midst of difficulty. It is possible to sing when all seems hopeless. The song is sometimes sung through tears, but His presence is the reason to sing.

Bethel Worship’s Faithful to the End


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