Four hours from me lies the island of Assateague, Virginia. The area is a combination of public beach and national wildlife refuge. As a bird watcher I greatly enjoy visiting the area. In summer the place is full of tourists. In the winter it becomes a rather cold and lonely place, but if one is willing to brave the elements there are many different species of birds to be seen.
A wildlife refuge provides “a sheltered or protected state from something threatening, harmful, or unpleasant”. We might think of a haven, sanctuary, or harbor. When I read the analogy of the Lord being my refuge I think of Assateague, particularly during the winter. From what do the birds need protection? Predators, hunters, starvation, and exposure. Just as this island provides protection for wildlife, so God provides protection for me.
When Satan tries to devour me with negativity and anxiety, the Lord delivers me from his snare. Sometimes God uses my limitations as protection from misplaced values and idolatry. The safe harbor of God’s Word protects me from the pulls of the world’s values and belief system.
If I visit during Assateague’s winter desolation, I will see birds that are not there during warm, sunny weather. Just so, in the desolation of my suffering, God is conforming me into the image of His Son. Were it not for my pain, the character qualities that God desires to build in me might never develop.
Although no motels are permitted on the island of Assateague, there are various ones nearby. One is actually called The Refuge Inn. Spiritually speaking, I need to stay permanently “checked in” to God’s Refuge Inn. There I will find the shelter, protection, and safety of my loving God. And I may even see beauty in the desolation.
Prayer: Loving God, just as You are so faithful to shelter and protect me from harm, may I be faithful in trusting Your decisions and plans for my life. Amen.