The Messenger Zine - REFUGE | Issue 18
Refuge From All Things
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
even though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah”
Psalm 46:1-3 NKJV
God, You are my refuge from all things.
To be honest, when I first started attending church, I never quite understood the concept that God is our refuge. To me, a refuge was a physical place, which would protect one from dangerous physical threats. As I never really felt physically threatened, I never felt that the word “refuge” spoke to me.
Along the way, I learnt that while it is true that God’s refuge promises physical protection, His refuge provides cover for much more than just your physical safety. It is a refuge from all things, including physical, emotional, and spiritual threats. It is for everyone. Whether you are physically tired, emotionally burnt out, or finding it hard to believe today, He will be your refuge from all things.
In Ecclesiastes 3:3, it says that “to everything there is a season”. As we know, things change and each season has a divine purpose. However, we can take heart in the fact that in all seasons He is still God. He is still our refuge. The seasons will always change: we may have to start over at a new school or at a new job, we may fall out with old friends and make new connections, and so on.
The one constant thing is that He is still here. No matter what happens, we can take refuge in His unchanging, unending love.
How then can we actually lean into this refuge that God offers us? For me, I find that coming to God with my problems is helpful. Often, when I look at the physical, emotional, or spiritual threats in my life, they seem to loom over everything I do. More often than not, they feel insurmountable. But when I take these problems and cast my cares upon God, He reminds me who is in control. He reminds me that He is the Lord my God, the alpha and omega, the author of all things. The troubles that plague my life are but just tiny in His presence. It is in this conversation with God that He is my refuge, my shield against all troubles and difficulties.
The circumstances and people around me will change. Yet I am certain that God, You alone are my refuge from all things.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”
Isaiah 54:10 NIV
Lord, You are my refuge and strength for all the days of my life. In all things You are still God. Regardless of whether physical, emotional, or spiritual threats come my way, I know that You are my refuge and hope. I declare in faith that even though a thousand may fall at my side and ten thousand on my right, still no attack shall come near me. For all my days, You are the Lord my God, my strength and shield, and I have a reason to praise You.
Tin Yan Illustration
Tin Yan is an Illustrator and Landscape Architect who finds her inspiration from everday life. When Covid-19 hit, concerned for the emotional well-being of children, she lent her skills to illustrate an ebooklet for them entitled, “I Am Not Afraid”.
Hello! First of all, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi! I’m Tin Yan. My name in Chinese is 天恩which means grace from the Heavenly Father. I’m an Illustrator and Landscape Architect based in Hong Kong. I find inspiration from everyday life, my cats, and from my walk with God.
Please share a little more about what you believe in at Tin Yan Illustration!
I like to draw happy things and it gives me the greatest sense of satisfaction when my work brings a smile to people’s faces, and encourages them in some way. Recently with everything happening in Hong Kong, I hope to spread love through my work.
On the message of refuge, what does a refuge mean to you?
For most of my life, I’ve taken peace for granted. I’ve never experienced war, or any life-threatening natural disasters. My refuge, for most of the time, has been my home.
Whenever I’m stressed or sad, I go home and rest, it’s a place where I feel safe. However, in the past year, refuge has taken on a deeper meaning.
In the last half of 2019, there was extreme turmoil and social unrest in Hong Kong. Just when things were getting a bit more peaceful, bushfires raged throughout Australia. It was heart-breaking to see, and the pain and devastation was tangible.
In January 2020, the coronavirus hit Hong Kong and the rest of the world. With our society in panic, scrambling for masks and even toilet paper, I am so thankful that ultimately He is my refuge and my hiding place. Jesus is the One who keeps me safe.
‘He makes everything beautiful in His time.’ What are your thoughts or personal experiences on finding refuge in God?
In the midst of a trial, it’s difficult to see the beautiful part of things. However, I do think it is in the midst of hardships that I learn to trust in God in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to, in times of comfort. As I am writing this, it is February 2020, and the coronavirus is still spreading. Even though it is not over yet, I am already thankful for the way that it has brought our church and our society together. God has led me to illustrate a free ebook for kids “I am not Afraid - Guide for Emotional Wellbeing in the Epidemic”, and I am so thankful that I can use my drawings to bless others. I am still learning day to day not to fear, and to trust Him to be my refuge especially in this difficult time.
The brand story of The Commandment Co is to ‘Send A Message. Inspire Someone.’ What is one message you would like to leave our readers with, on the topic of refuge?
One of my favourite Psalms to read on the topic of refuge is Psalm 91. In verses 1-2 it says:
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord,
“He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
God is our refuge and fortress, let’s rest and trust God to always be there for us :)
We Are Never Alone
Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of passage?
His father takes him into the forest blindfolded and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a tree stump for the whole night and not take off the blindfold until a ray of sun shines through it the next morning. He is all by himself and cannot cry out for help to anyone.
Once he survives the night, he is a man. He cannot tell the other boys about this experience. Each boy must come into his own manhood.
The boy was terrified. He could hear all kinds of noises of beasts around him. He imagined that there may even be some humans who could hurt him. The wind blew and he could hear the rustling of the grass of the earth and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man.
Finally, after a horrific night, the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he saw his father sitting on the stump right next to him, at watch the entire night. He was never alone.
In life, we are never truly alone. Even when we do not know it, our family and friends are watching out for us, sitting on a stump right beside us.
(Adapted from http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/stories.html#Story64)