Home » Tuesday: The Lord Is a Refuge in Adversity    


Tuesday: The Lord Is a Refuge in Adversity — 19 Comments

  1. The study today is filled with imagery of peace and safety in God's presence, particularly in times of adversity. I love the hen and her chickens metaphor. I have seen it so many times. We have a bird called a Masked Lapwing (Most Australians call them Plovers). They nest on the bare ground and the chicks can run as soon as they hatch. So many times, I have seen and photographed six- or eight-legged plovers standing on the grass, each mother hiding her chicks under her wings. And if you come too close, she will attack. She has spurs on her wings and they are not afraid to use them.

    The message for today comes with a caveat. If the church is God's bride, should we not offer shelter in a time of storm, a cooling shade in the burning sand? Too often we are so concerned about doctrinal and moral purity, that we forget we should be offering a place of refuge for the vulnerable, the lonely, and even the rebellious. In the recent inquiry into institutional sexual abuse in Australia, it became very clear that churches were not offering a safe place. Some of my friends are atheists for that very reason and dismiss Christianity for its lack of concern for the victims.

    While these Psalms offer us solace and comfort in our times of adversity, there is a very clear message that we too should be offering friendship for the lonely, support for those who are victims, encouragement for the discouraged, and community for the disenfranchised. We are the Psalms that these folk will read. In Christ, we are the poetry that will bring music back into their lives.

    • I thought something similar to what you thought, Maurice, when I read the last question. Perhaps in the time when we can't see God's protection, that is especially when we need to surround our brothers and sisters and be there for them. Perhaps that is the way God wants to reveal His protection.

  2. I found an unsafe place in many a church from an early age Right through adulthood during a long and most traumatic time in my aloneness and most vulnerable when all I could do with my entire being (as I still do cling to my one rock of salvation), those who claim(ed) to be religious, believers of Christ, used and abused me, deceived and discarded me. Abandoned me to the wild and wolves.I had no idea as to what to do. Eventually, decades later, when I knew I could no longer go on,God unexpectedly flew into action and changed things.
    This doesnot alter what has gone before or excuse the unnecessary harm done or the inaction that condones injustice and the abuses caused, but it does reveal and teach me many things and in the final analysis, led me back into Jesus's loving arms back to where I belong under the Fathers' wings.
    Adversity is a great teacher. God can use the greatest of adversity as He will, Healing is in His wings. All Wisdom and Glory is unto Him not man.
    The stain of sin that corrupts the heart and turns a blind eye,that fatal law, can only be removed and free us, in His Holy Spirit.
    It's hard to forgive and go on loving hard hearts but surving the lion's den of iniquity is possible if we trust in Him who first loved us.
    I know that all things work together for good. In Him there is no doubt.
    As a dear and most trusted friend and woman of great faith pointed out, we are all ridiculous. How the Father loves as we are are. How He hears our repentant cries and pleas to Him from out of the very depths of darkness and despair, grief and sorrow - and answers our every need. There is no other comfort known to man, except it be in He who comforts us and covers us with the blood of the Lamb. This is our safe place.

    • Dear sister Jane, the tragedy is that your trauma from those within the very place of refuge is all too commonplace. Many times such perpetrators of evil and those who would protect them by their silence, are apparently not brought to justice in this life. However even if they were that would still not necessarily bring healing. But thank GOD for His deliverance from and healing of the deep childhood wounds. ‘But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:’ Romans 5:20

    • Dear Jane - yes, indeed - "There is no other comfort known to man, except it be in He who comforts us and covers us with the blood of the Lamb. This is our safe place."
      Yes, Praise and Honor belongs to our God for His healing touch and His mighty power evidenced through your life's experiences!
      He rebuked those having malice in their heart, but even more special is His power to restore love for Him and those who wronged you! Yes - indeed! We praise Him who is able to overcome all evil arraigned against His children with the Power of His Love.

  3. Our God is truly a refuge in adversity. He supplies our deficiencies with His sufficiencies. He enhances our abilities with His capabilities. He says what He means and means what He says. What a God!

  4. My bedroom now is the same bedroom I had at age 7 or 8. My 87-year-old Mom is in the next bedroom and I am back home to help her. Home. Am I home? My Dad used to say, "You always know where home is, Toots." And I'd think, "You don't understand Dad, I'm a grownup now trying to find a life mate, I want to make a home of my own. 1360 is not my home anymore." The old gardens here are tangled and trees overgrown, just like my memories. My life experiences spill out of the walls and yet still take a shape that fits within this clapboard (weatherboard) box to be present here. A box to give. A box to receive.

    On Sabbaths, I pick up refugees and immigrants to bring to church. Home. Does Maine feel like home now? They are here in the snow wearing their intricate gold-threaded wraps with bright leggings and no socks. Our Rwandese Pastor just learned that his cousin who was like a brother was killed in war in the Congo. We sing Amazing Grace together in Portuguese, English, Kinyarwanda. Acculturation. Suspended between two cultures. I imagine that for them, just like for me, places of belonging flicker and vanish like fragile candles that blow out. There is a yearning and nostalgia for "home" as a place we may have imagined in our innocence, or may have never known. Home as a place of stability, safety, rest, relaxing, being yourself, belonging. Like baby birds, cozy, just being fed and protected.

    Today's lesson is about refuge. The secret place. Fortress. Dwelling place. Havens. Thursday's lesson goes further with the word "sanctuary". God acts for us from His Heavenly Home. From a place of peace. Safe places. Are our churches sanctuaries -- safe places?

    Ps. 17:8 in a couple other translations says,

    CSB - Protect me as the pupil of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

    TPT - Protect me from harm; keep an eye on me like you would a child reflected in the twinkling of your eye. Yes, hide me within the shelter of your embrace, under your outstretched wings.

    I picture God so close to me that I can see my reflection in His pupil. I want to change today's lesson title to "The Lord is MY ONLY Refuge in ANY AND EVERY SITUATION".

    My Mom is a wisp of the Mom I knew. Definitions of child and caregiver have shifted. And yet we still shape one another in deep, muted love. The location of home on planet Earth for me keeps changing. Where I think I belong, and then I don't. Homes leave footprints on us and then evaporate. Mice move into the attic. Our fingerprints on places fade like breath on glass. It is a long journey of wilderness time before the Promised Land of Heaven. Ps. 107:4-7 tells this story.

    And there is God. So close. Breathing on me. His sparkling Eyes brim over with deep passion for His child, and there in the wells into His heart, there I see my reflection. "Oh Abba, so I am made in Your image." Each of us, the object of His vision and protection. Like the Prodigal Father, He is always watching for me to run into His arms. There is a joy with Jesus without boundaries. Without the right words or explanations. More accurate than my memories can remember. He knows me. He KNOWS me. He understands me. Everything. He pulls my tired and dust-covered body into His full acceptance (Luke 15:20). I can say, "He is MY refuge and MY fortress, MY God in Him I will trust" (Ps. 91:2). The wholeness of life is not found by going deeper into myself or into another human or another place. Jesus is my only true home (Ps. 90:1; 9:9; 31:20; 71:3; 91:9; Deut. 33:27; Matt. 11:28-30; Rev. 21:22).

  5. I thank the Lord for guiding Esther P to share with us, some of her experiences as she now becomes the caregiver for her Mother, combined with those uplifting Scriptures.

  6. In my perspective, for those who believe in God, the suffering on this planet can become a source of strength for their faith. In my most desperate moments, when I thought there was no way out, God became my only hope and source of healing. Indeed, He restored me, and simultaneously, I became weaker so He could be more assertive in my life! I hope that I continue to feel dependent on Him.

  7. Being born and growing up in africa is not joke because you already born fighting for survival.Probably 90% of the population lives under poverty datum line. Before groaning and weeping to God for what he hasn't yet done for me!,
    I would like to take a pause and say thank you Lord for being a fortress for me,now at 34.It might not be seen physically or grasped by human flesh,But the truth is God has been fortress for us,A fortress Which can not be breached,broken or plundered by seen and unseen enermies.Psamls are a blessing..

  8. We learn through trial that character and trust are forged in the fires of adversity. Loyalty is love that is reflected in trust.

  9. When reading the lesson, a question came to mind: 'What is at the core of many troubles we experience'? Small troubles might not bring this up to be recognized, but big troubles like the attacks by our enemies comes a bit closer to expose our fear – the fear of untimely death or dying. It appears to me that calling out to God asks Him to protect us from this event.

    Using this perspective as I was reading this lesson’s psalms, I can identify my own trepidations as being ever present in my life – sudden calamities, unforeseen circumstances making life difficult to manage, etc.. But we can be calm in the middle of the storm - we have been given a safe harbor, a refuge when calling out to move the heart of God.

    We find assurance and strength in the midst of experiencing fears of loss, death and dying, as we draw near to our heavenly Father who offers us rest. We come near to God as is humanly possible when reaching out to touch His heart in times of our calamity - therein is our rest! – Psalms 57:1.

  10. Johnny’s First Missionary Journey
    By John Odom
    I was born on August 13, 1936, in the municipal Hospital of La Coruna, Spain.  This was during the Spanish Civil War, one of the most brutal and bloody of modern times.
    The city of La Coruna had fallen to the Fascists on July 20. The military garrison, occupied by the Fascists, was located next to the hospital, separated from it by an alley about 15 feet wide. The window of the maternity ward was just across the alley from a machine-gun battery on the wall of the garrison.
    When Mother felt the onset of labor, she and Daddy walked five blocks to the hospital. He then walked home to be with my brother. There was no doctor; every resident of  
    La Coruna  who could, including the doctors, had fled the city. The hospital was left in the charge of the nuns, who were also nurses.
    Mother said the delivery table still had the bloody sheets from the last delivery.  She prayed the Lord would protect her from infection.
    After the delivery, she was taken to the maternity ward where there were a total of 12 mothers and their babies. Soon after arrival in the ward, the Loyalists began a 
    counterattack on the city with an artillery barrage aimed at the garrison next to the hospital. 
    The shrill whistle of shells could be heard before the deafening explosions shook the hospital.  Not knowing when a shell might hit the ward, the women were terrified.  They began to scream and recite Hail Marys and the rosary.
    Mother did not like the loud screaming. She asked if any of the women had a Bible. Of 
    course, in Catholic Spain in the 1930s none did, but one woman had a catechism. Mother asked for it.  The catechism had, in the back, some of the Psalms from the Spanish Valera version. Mother began to read the Psalm of Protection (Psalm 91):
      “EL que habita al abrigo del Altísimo, Morará bajo la sombra del Omnipotente.
      Diré yo á Jehová: Esperanza mía, y castillo mío; Mi Dios, en él confiaré.
      Y él te librará del lazo del cazador: De la peste destruidora.
      Con sus plumas te cubrirá, Y debajo de sus alas estarás seguro: Escudo y adarga es su verdad.” 
      (Psalm 91 KJV:
    “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
      I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
      Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
      He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”)
    The room immediately became quiet. As Mother read the rest of the Psalm, peace filled the room even as the shells whistled and exploded across the alley. 
    Soon the Mother Superior came into the room screaming “What is wrong! why aren’t you crying!” 
    One of the women replied; “She read to us.” The Mother Superior said, “What do you mean, She read to us?” The lady then asked mother to read it again. Mother again read the psalm:
    “EL que habita al abrigo del Altísimo, Morará bajo la sombra del Omnipotente. . . . “
    The Mother Superior then said, “Everyone in the hospital needs to hear this.” She then called for a wheel chair and an orderly and had Mother taken to every ward. With me in  
    her left arm and the catechism in her right hand, she read to the patients in every ward.  Whenshe was done, there was no one crying in the whole hospital.
    Mother always said that this was Johnny’s first missionary journey.
    John Odom was born to missionary parents, Martha M. and Robert L.
    Odom.  His first 15 years were spent in Spain, Panama, and the Philippines.  He became a science and mathematics teacher in the United States, but has been a missionary all his life.  His first  missionary journey started the day he was born in war-torn Spain.

    • Dear Brother John, Thank you for sharing your testimony of the power of God’s Word! And being born to Christian parents is another of God’s great gifts! 🙏🏻


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>