It actually hit me a few months before New Years Day this year. God delivered my “one word” for 2013 several weeks early.
A new Pandora station of worship songs from Sojourn filled my home office with an uplifting soundtrack throughout the holidays. As snowflakes fell … and fell and fell, one song seemed to repeatedly play over and over.
The song titled “Refuge” would come on just about every day. Over the weeks I began to recognize it and hum along.
As the new year rolled around and I prayed to discern the “one word” for my year, the familiar melody flooded my mind. It became clear that there was one word God wanted me to claim in 2013: REFUGE.
“Great,” I thought. “My cancer is coming back.”
Refuge = Take Cover?
As soon as I felt God calling me to “take refuge” in Him, I immediately expected the worst. I mean, what positive things could come from a word meaning “Take cover!” or “Hide out under here!” … or so I thought.
Refuge was a word I’d never really thought about or used very much (which is saying a lot since I blog for a living…). And as much as I’d heard it used in scripture (it’s scattered throughout Psalms), it was a foreign concept to me.
I feared the circumstances ahead… worried about what was to come in 2013 that would make me take refuge in God.
Refuge Isn’t Just for Those On the Run
It didn’t take very long for God to reveal why He put the word “refuge” on my heart this year, and no, my cancer hasn’t come back. Almost halfway through my “year of refuge” I see how completely wrong my understanding of the word has been.
Sure – “God is our refuge” has certainly applied when I’ve experienced pain or hurt. But, He’s shown me that I can find peace and mercy in Him in all things – good and bad.
God doesn’t just want to be my refuge when cancer knocks at my door or the unimaginable occurs. He wants me to take refuge in Him through everyday stuff, too.
That’s the story of my year so far.
Just like the names of the six Cities of Refuge, have refuge like definitions for different circumstances, God has also been a refuge for many circumstances in my life over the past five-and-a-half months… positive AND negative.
Already in 2013, I’ve learned to take refuge in him to:
Stop living in the fear of a cancer recurrence
Open up communication and growth in my marriage
Steady my emotions amidst big seasons of change
Stay emotionally anchored when unexpected or bad news hit
See the future with clarity and hope
Discern His will and calling for my life without anxiety or stress
Look to Him for the emotional fulfillment I need
Parent my daughter with patience
And we’re not even to June yet.
God is our Refuge
Pastor Orion said it beautifully – “Jesus is our refuge. He is where we receive mercy and peace.” From sin issues to health issues – I’ve found this to be true.
As I’ve actively pursued to know God as my refuge, I’ve found much more than a shelter from the storm. I’ve found a lightness, peace and hope that applies to any circumstance. Not just the cancer stuff.