How Do I Find A Safe Space?
Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you. Zechariah 9:12
Strongholds and fortresses are as old as history itself. They are a reflection of man’s desire to be secure from his enemies. Most often they were constructed as military defenses—to keep enemies on the outside and families safe within. They were often built with massive walls of stone, defended with canons and armament. In the 5th century B.C., the Chinese built the 4,000 mile long Great Wall to keep out invaders. But eventually it was breached. Ancient Smyrna constructed what many thought was an impregnable wall. It wasn’t. Eventually it was compromised.
You find their ruins at the entrance to harbors, in mountains, in the ruins of ancient cities. Actually, we haven’t given up on strongholds or fortresses. We simply bury them in the heart of the earth, thinking that they are safe here.
Where do you go when you are under attack? Of interest to me is the fact that this is not a new challenge, whatsoever. The Old Testament of your Bible mentions strongholds or fortresses some 41 times, and David, who spent seven long years as a fugitive fleeing for his life, often fled to a stronghold for safety.
But David learned that eventually the safety of the stronghold could be compromised and the only true refuge from the enemy was in God Himself. He wrote, “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:9).
From experience he learned God, alone, was to be trusted. He added, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliver; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).
So, what do you do, friend, when the sky appears to be falling? When your stronghold crumbles, when your life falls apart? Run to Jesus with all your might, or run from Him, blaming Him for what has happened to you?
When a friend faced the stark reality, her husband was dying of an inoperable cancer, she knew she had to flee to the open arms of a Savior or turn and run. Was she tempted? She wrote, “I have been tempted to just run away, pretend nothing is going on; to take a credit card and just drive – escape for a while. Or, to lash out at those around me…or, to eat until I can’t eat anymore–just because. Or, to go somewhere where nobody knows my name, and buy a fifth of bourbon and go back down that road–just to forget for a while. Or, to lock my doors, go to bed, and literally pull the covers over my head–indefinitely! Or even drive my car off a cliff somewhere, just so this will all go away, and let someone else deal with it. Many things have crossed my mind.”
No, she did none of these things. Rather she took them to the foot of the cross and left those fleeting thoughts with a compassionate Savior, adding, “I don’t know how anyone could get through this without the strength of the Living God. The pain by itself is unbearable. The future is terrifying, and uncertain. The present is a nightmare. But–God is good! I know my Redeemer lives, and ever lives to make intercession–FOR ME!”
Don’t wait until your world is falling apart to take refuge in the stronghold. She learned what the prophet Nahum discovered when his world was falling apart, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who truth in Him” (Nahum 1:7).
Resource reading: Psalm 18:2-19.