“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed” (Psalm 9:9). There are times in all our lives when we relish the idea of a refuge. Running off to a safe place where we can rest and recharge without the everyday pressures of life sounds like an oasis in the desert! I have a physical place that I run to when life gets overwhelming. The New Every Morning retreat in Paw Paw, WV has provided a refuge for me for many years. But what if you just can’t “get away” in the middle of all the pressures? It isn’t always feasible to pack a bag and escape to the mountains!
The verse says that the LORD is our refuge. HE is our place of safety. Running to Him does not require packing a bag, it only requires an awareness of His presence and a firm faith in His goodness. Our strength and resilience in the face of oppressors is found in our union with Him. In a moment of panic, we can surrender everyone and everything to Him, express our love to Him and rest in His peace.
The need for refuge is brought on by oppression. To be oppressed is to be crushed by a weight, weighed down or worn down by cares. Wolves are called “pursuit predators” because they run down large prey over long distances. As they chase, they will inflict bites to weaken the prey. The bites and the run wear down the prey and lead to their demise. Our adversary (I know like a lion but also like a wolf) seeks to devour us ( I Peter 5:7). He wears us down with the cares of life (relationships, finances, health, schedules, worries, etc.,) and overwhelms us with despair.
The holiday season seems to increase our oppressors (do you already feel worn down?) BUT it also reminds us of our refuge. The baby born in the manger provides the path that leads to our refuge (no one comes to the Father but through Him). Be aware of your refuge this holiday season and find safety, strength and resilience in His presence.