God, Our Fortress

Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine a soldier in a battlefield amidst a horrendous war. Gunshot fire surrounds him and bombs explode with deafening blasts. He puts his hands over his ears to block out the heart-wrenching groans of injured soldiers. At this point, he is most likely searching anxiously for a place of refuge; a fortress. This fortress is the only safe place amongst the raging war that surrounds him. Now, as bleak as this moment is, I want you to hold on to this image because I’m going to have you recall it again in a moment.

I was asked to write an article on my favorite Psalm. You may have figured out which Psalm by now (and if not, don’t fret; I don’t expect you to recall one out of 150). I chose to write on Psalm 46. What I love about this Psalm is that it is relatable to every single one of us, teen or not. Old or young – even weak or strong – we’ve all needed a refuge.

Remember our soldier? How do you think he feels in the middle of a war zone? Well, I can tell you right now, this is not a high point in his life. Put yourself in his shoes for a minute. How do you think you would feel amidst all of this? I don’t know about you, but a few words come to my mind: alone, scared, apprehensive, and maybe even deserted. What do you think you are looking for at this point? Most likely, you are desperately searching for a safe place; a fortress.

You may have read my testimony that I gave a few months ago. If not, I’ll provide the cliff notes. I was going through a difficult time in my life. I was dealing with every kind of fear imaginable, and the pressure of all of it was nearly unbearable. I felt alone. I felt scared. I felt like this constant feeling of fear and anxiety was never going to leave. What I didn’t realize was that, not only was I falling apart emotionally, I was falling apart spiritually as well.

Now, I’m sure that all of us have felt something like this at one point or another, this feeling of abandonment and anxiety. But my story doesn’t end there; something incredible happened. It was when I was at my breaking point that God lifted me in His arms and carried me to His safe place.
His fortress.

I began to dig into His Word, and do you know what I found? I found comfort. I found protection. I found a safe place amongst the unbearable weight of my struggles. It became personal – God wasn’t just a refuge, He was my refuge. Let these words sink in:

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. 
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. 
Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
~Psalm 46 (ESV)

Now read that Psalm again, only this time, include your name in place of the pronouns. Yes, “God is my (Krystal McPeters) refuge and strength….”

You may have heard these lyrics of a song called My One Safe Place by Andrew Peterson.

You are a fortress
I am under siege
You’re a light in the forest
I am a lost boy out in the trees
So I run away home
Yes, I run away home to you

These lyrics show a perfect picture of God’s role as our unceasing fortress. He carries us and comforts us through life’s trials. How does He do this? The answer is quite simple: through His Word.

Let’s go back one last time to our war zone. How do you think this soldier would feel once he finally found this place of refuge? Most likely, he is feeling relieved, like the weight has been lifted from his shoulders. This is just the same as we would feel running towards God’s constant fortress. Gaining that sense of peace and calmness that we didn’t have before will make this time of trial worth everything. God’s fortress is and always will be our ultimate source of comfort and solace. Will you run to it?

“I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
~Psalm 91:2 (ESV)

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