What do you do when a storm comes? When eerie whistling wind, shocking claps of thunder, and heavy raindrops all collide above, we run to the reprieve of our homes—escaping the intensity for warmth, security, and protection.
There’s an inner relief and gratitude that covers us, as we sip hot cocoa under a blanket, safely watching the wild world outside.
Aside from food and water, one of the necessities of life is shelter. We must have a roof overhead and walls to guard us from unpredictable weather and danger.
So if physical shelter is important, we have to consider: what or Who is the refuge for our hearts? Where should we turn when struggles come rushing upon us?
The book of Psalms speaks frequently and beautifully of this encouraging truth – God Himself is our shelter in the storms of life.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. Psalm 16:1
David and many other psalmists loved declaring God as their source of strength and salvation, the one who carried them through both inner and outer distress.
Yet taking refuge in an invisible God is not always so easy. How do we emulate their declarations of faith? We can’t escape our fears by running into a building, or open an umbrella to deflect showers of pain.
In David’s Psalm 16, we have an inside look at how we take cover under God.
The Ancient Hebrew word he writes for “refuge,” chacah, means “to put trust in, to confide or hope in.”
To break this down even further, we understand that David can trust, confide, and hope in God because he understands who He is. Just look at the next verse:
“I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” Psalm 16:2
Like David, we have to grasp the full breadth of the truth that God is Lord. He is Lord of the universe, of everything we see and do not see. He is over all things, and all blessing comes from His mighty hand (Colossians 1:16).
Just as we have no power over the start of a downpour or the movement of a hurricane, but instead must find shelter, we have to depend on God’s authority when negative circumstances flood our lives.
Joy and perseverance in our everyday pains and most devastating blows cannot arise out of our already broken and weak hearts. It must come from something greater than us, from someone invincible and holy—from our Lord.
That’s why there is tremendous comfort in worship.
With our eyes on Him, on His glory and goodness, our hearts can choose to sing even when our arms are weary. Our minds can rest when our surroundings are bleak. Our soul can be satisfied when our pain is real.
To take refuge in Him is to remember the miracles upon miracles He’s done in His Word, to treasure the steadfastness of who He is, and to hope for the heaven ahead. It’s pouring out our deepest longings and hurts in prayer, and ending them with affirmations that He is Lord and He is good.
In Psalm 16, David worships by recalling God’s personal attributes. After calling God his refuge, he goes on to praise Him. David delights in the Lord – that the Lord is his God. David’s confidence comes from knowing His Sovereign King never fails in His promises.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6
He appreciates God for His wisdom, which directs him through the murky waters of life.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. Psalm 16:7
He treasures that God is unchanging and omnipresent, always nearby for deliverance.
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. Psalm 16:9
David also recalls that God is so, so faithful. No matter what David does or what he faces, the Lord will preserve his servant’s faith until heaven.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. Psalm 16:10
Finally, David recognizes that God is truth and the way of peace.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
Sister, soak in those final lines. With Him there is fullness of joy.
If you are in a place of hopelessness or fear, not knowing where to go, go to Jesus. Pray, read the Psalms and the Gospels, and seek community with His people. There “the cares of the earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
For those who are in Christ, God is always there in our most desperate moments, an ever-present shelter.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
I personally invite you to do this very thing, to take refuge in who God is, through my prayer journal Adoring His Attributes. It’s a 30 day devotional that walks you through 30 of God’s praise-worthy qualities, with daily prayer prompts to worship Him along the way.