COLUMN: God is a refuge

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By Steve Gettinger

A reading from Luke 23:26-30:
“As they led Jesus away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, “Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!” Then they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!’”
In the reading from Luke Chapter 23, we hear about Jesus being led away to be crucified. On his way to be crucified, Jesus speaks to people standing nearby, some of whom were weeping for his suffering and impending death by crucifixion. Jesus addresses the women in the group and told them not to weep for him, but to weep for themselves and their children. Jesus told them this because he knew terrible times would be coming upon them. I am sure many people were fearful the day that Jesus was crucified, including many of his followers. I am sure that many people were fearful about the words Jesus spoke to them about the terrible times coming to the nation of Israel in the years to come.
Fear is something that many of us face in the world we live in. Allow me to list some things that can strike fear in people:
-government shut downs, unemployment and political unrest
-broken marriages and relationships
-persecution and tribulation
-tornadoes, typhoons, earthquakes, hurricanes, asteroids hitting the earth
-sickness, disease, death and the end of the world
When fearful things come into our lives we have a couple of options. We can worry ourselves to death or we can seek God and ask him to help us through the difficult things we are facing.
In Psalm 46, the psalmist wrote some very beautiful and comforting words for those going through difficulties.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble; Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
God is only a prayer away. He is with us in our times of sickness, troubles and pain, even in death itself. If God can protect us from sin and hell through faith in Jesus, he will care for us in our time of need. In times of fear, call on the name of the Lord and tell him your fears. Ask Him to help you.
I would like to share with you an illustrative story. The story makes the point that we need to trust God even when faced with fear and uncertainty. The story goes like this: Many years ago when doctors made house calls, a doctor was making a house call on a man who was very sick. The doctor gave the man some medicine to reduce his pain. As the doctor was leaving, the sick man said to the doctor, “I am afraid I am going to die, can you tell me what lies on the other side of death.” The doctor paused and said, “I don’t know.” The sick man replied, “You are a Christian man and you don’t know what is on the other side of death? How can that be?”
The doctor was holding on to the handle of the door, when they both heard scratching and whining from the other side of the door. As the doctor opened the door, a dog ran to him wagging his tail. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “This is my dog. He is usually at home, and has never been to your house before today. He didn’t know what was inside this house, but he knew I was here, so when the door opened, my dog ran in without fear. This is how I look at death. I know little of what is on the other side of this life, but I do know one thing. My master is there and I want to go to him, and for me, that knowledge is enough.”
I close with the words of the Apostle Paul as he wrote to the Christians in the city of Colossae: “For God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).