We might look at Psalm 46 and see God as a stronghold when times are tough. When the money is lean or the health isn’t right. When the relationships are falling away and the future is uncertain. But we must also look at it and recognize that all of us were once under the just judgment of God for our sin. We were destined to go down into Sheol as a consequence for our rebellion. God was against us. We were his enemies.
I grew up in the panhandle of Texas, an area that was and still is pretty notorious for the amount and severity of thunderstorms in the area. It was not uncommon during the spring and early summer for us to hear the tornado sirens and head next door to our neighbors’ basement because we needed a refuge. We needed a safe place to go.
I remember some years ago when I was a college pastor, my wife and I were leading a mission trip in eastern Africa and we had driven into the Sahara desert in two four wheel drive pickup trucks. We went out a little further than we should have, and stayed a little longer than we should have, and the desert around us got very dark very quickly. I felt exposed, in danger, and confused, and what I wanted more than anything was a refuge. We needed to find a place of safety.
On a lighter note, I am an introvert. If we are at a party or another event and we have been there for some time, you’ll probably find me eventually migrating to a chair in the corner, or perhaps even spending a little more time in the restroom than I actually need to. Once again, I will be looking for a place of safety.