The Safest Place to Be . . . by Pastor Paul Linzmeier
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10
There has been so much talk this year about where it’s not safe to be. It’s not safe in inner cities where riots are happening; it’s not safe in large gatherings where you could catch a virus; it’s not safe to live along the ocean during one of the worst hurricane seasons on record; it’s not safe to live in tornado alley, it’s not safe to live in the wooded wildfire-prone regions of California; it goes on and on. We want to be safe and protect our lives. This year, one could come to the conclusion that the safest place would be on a desert island wearing a hazmat suit in an underground bunker that is far away from people. I am exaggerating a little, but when things before us look dangerous, we immediately run toward what we think is safe. Let me encourage you to flee the advice of the world and take your counsel from the Lord in His Word. Remember, the world does not have the right perspective and will promote, even demand of Christians, to escape to their man-made refuge along with them. Our refuge, however, in any storm, any circumstance, or any danger is found in our relationship with Jesus Christ our Savior. Christians will be and are being condemned in the world’s eyes for not running away with them to their hope and refuge.
The believer and the unbeliever don’t share the same safe place of refuge because the believer does not share the same perspective on what is truly dangerous. We recognize from God’s Word that the greatest danger we face is our own sin and the wages of that sin is eternal death. We cannot save ourselves or preserve our life from death, no matter how fortified a city we create. We were at one time, as Paul says to the Ephesians in chapter 2:12-13, “separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Talk about being in danger.) “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” God, being rich in mercy, has provided us salvation and He says the only true refuge, the only safe place is in my Son. Our hope is not in the preservation of our bodies but in the saving finished work of Jesus who went to the grave and on the third day rose! This is good news of truth and life. Brothers and sisters, let us be a people active in speaking and displaying a life of walking in this hope and good news before a world that is lost, walking in darkness, and thinking they are safe by means of their own strong tower.
Let us as a church family strive together in one heart and one accord, setting our hope and seeking our refuge in Jesus and allowing His Word to mold and shape our thinking and decision making. The best place to start is in prayer. This topic is not unique to the year 2020 but has been felt in every generation. I have included a prayer written many years ago from the book The Valley of Vision titled “Refuge.”
Whose power is infinite and wisdom infallible,
Order things that they may neither hinder, nor discourage me,
nor prove obstacles to the progress of thy cause;
Stand between me and all strife, that no evil befall,
no sin corrupt my gifts, zeal, attainments;
May I follow duty and not any foolish device of my own;
Permit me not to labour at work which thou wilt not bless,
That I may serve thee without disgrace or debt;
Let me dwell in thy most secret place under thy shadow,
where is safe impenetrable protection from
The arrow the flieth by day
The pestilence that walketh in darkness
The strife of tongues
The malice of ill-will
The hurt of unkind talk
The snares of company
The perils of youth
The temptations of middle life
The mournings of old age,
The fear of death.
I am entirely dependent upon thee for support, counsel, consolation.
Uphold me by thy free Spirit,
and may I not think it enough to be preserved from falling,
but may I go forward
always abounding in the work thou givest me to do.
Strengthen me by thy Spirit in my inner self
for every purpose of my Christian life.
All my jewels I give to the shadow of the safety that is in thee—
my name anew in Christ
my body, soul, talents, character
my success, spouse, children, friends, work,
my present, my future, my end.
Take them, they are thine, and I am thine,
now and forever.
Let us be praying together about this—casting all fears and doubts and worries on Him because He cares for us. May we take counsel from His Word and put our trust continually in Jesus; our only refuge, the master of our soul, and the author of our salvation. May we go where Jesus calls us to and do what He told His Church to do even in the midst of what appears dangerous. For where Jesus is, there His bride will be with Him in perfect eternal safety.
Resting in Him,