In the days when battle was conducted face-to-face, before missiles were guided from planes and ships and game consoles continents away-a fortified tower, a castle or a deep cave were places of refuge and safety.
Death could be imminent, but if a harried combatant could make it to one of these places he could catch his breath, regroup, plan a counter-attack.
Grief feels like a battle.
And I often find myself looking for refuge. I need a safe place to find my strength again.
Praying is still very hard for me.
I know my Father is listening, I know Jesus is with me but I don’t really have much to say. The one great cry of my heart cannot be answered, my son will not return.
So I run to the promise that is His Name.
When I can’t even whisper a prayer, I speak peace to my soul by declaring Who He is.
Years ago I memorized this verse:
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 NIV
And it has been a light in the darkest nights of this dark, dark journey.
I know many who read my blog are fellow bereaved parents and they are battling too. They are struggling to find a way to face another day without their beloved child. They hurt and they long for the comfort of hearing God’s voice in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Prayer might be hard for them too.
I want to speak courage to your heart.
I want to whisper hope to your battered soul.
When you can’t speak, when you feel defeated, when you are running for your life from the enemy who would have you believe that there is no safe place, remember that God sees you. He is your refuge.
His name is powerful and He is mighty to save.
Many of us have memorized the twenty-third psalm. We don’t see it in English, but these verses contain several names of God.
At the start of this passage, God reveals Himself as Jehovah-Roi: “The Lord my Shepherd”.
He is the God Who sees, He is the God Who is present, He is the God Who guides me even here in this awful valley.
So I declare the truth that God is my Shepherd to whoever and whatever is chasing me.
I declare that God is with me to my weary soul even when I cannot feel His Presence.
I shout, “God is my Shepherd” to the darkness and run for safety to His arms.