Twenty something years ago I worked at a newspaper and met a guy who became a very close friend of mine. When we first met we hit it off right away with our love of music and comedy. He was a constant comedian. He could do different voices, lines from movies, facial expressions and his own comedy routines. No matter how bad work got, we could always count on him to cheer us up.
His wife also worked with us. She was a complete opposite from him. She was harsh, hard and mean. Nobody, and I mean, NOBODY wanted to work with her or be with her. None of us could imagine what might have brought them together. Within just a few months after meeting my new friend, he called me up one day and told me that his wife had left him.
Fast forward several years, and now he had remarried and life is good. I finally asked him one day, "How did you handle it with her (his ex-wife)? She was nothing like you...and she was harsh!" He looked at me, smiled, and I will never forget what he said.
He said, "I would get up every morning and at 7:00 on channel 4 they would play the Stooges for half an hour (that's The Three Stooges for the uninformed), and after a half hour of Larry, Moe & Curly, I'm good to go for the day, no matter what!"
You may think I'm making this up, but it is the truth....a dose of the Stooges was what he used to make it through the day.
I thought of my friend and what he said when I read this scripture the other day:
"Oh Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, for they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me."
We don't use that word refuge much these days. The dictionary says defines refuge as:
1. shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.: to take refuge from a storm.
2. a place of shelter, protection, or safety.
3. anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape.
For my friend, watching the Stooges was where he went to for aid, relief, escape, and for shelter. It might seem odd, but it worked for him, for awhile. Eventually there was pain, suffering and sorrow from the divorce that was too big for him to find refuge in Larry, Moe or Curly.
Too often we seek refuge in things that at best, will only numb the pain or help us ignore the problems we are going through, and at worst, will eventually destroy us.
We turn to alcohol, drugs, eating, pornography, work, relationships, or any number of things that will deaden what we are going through, all the time feeling as though we have a place of shelter protection, aid and relief, when in reality we are only putting off the inevitable, always needing more.
In this Psalm, David tells us that the Lord is his refuge. It has taken me a long time to get to this place, but I have finally reached the place in my life where the Lord truly is my refuge. As a pastor this is extremely important. There is no way I can please all the people that I serve all the time. I must be true to God and His Word and His direction...ans sometimes, in the process, people get their feelings hurt, or some people just don't understand and get angry. During these times I have learned to lean on God, to let Him be my refuge. I literally run to Him in my heart, and on my knees.
Don't get me wrong. I don't always run to God for my refuge. Sometimes I still fall back into bad habits and addictions for my refuge, but it's getting better.
Today, no matter what you face, the Lord can and will be your refuge. You just need to call out to Him. Jesus told a religious leader in the gospel of John, "You must be born again." This persons knowledge of scripture wouldn't cut it, his standing in the community didn't make the grade, his position in his church (synagogue) didn't add up to much in the eyes of Jesus. He needed to be born into the family of God in order to have a relationship with God. Sometime between that discussion with Jesus, and the death of Jesus on the cross, it appears that he did just that.
What about you.
Where do you go for refuge?
I reccomend the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
It sure beats Larry, Moe and Curly any day.
Ok, so there's that.