My hiding place

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2017

“He’s gone.”

I’ll never forget those words as long as I live. I was 12 years old in the Children’s ICU section at UNC-Chapel Hill Hospital. My best friend of three years, Rodney, had died after a long battle of illness with a rare blood disease.

I don’t know if you’ve watched someone die, but for a child who had never seen death, and who had never had a friend as close as him, this was the hardest day of my life. I was so heartbroken. I did not fully understand what was happening except that I would never get to spend the night at his house again. I would never get to play football with him again. We would never have those obnoxious times of laughter, midnight snacks, and daydreaming about girls again…Rodney was gone.

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Of course he went to heaven! He knew Jesus as his Savior and Lord. He’s in heaven right now – what more could I ask for? But remember, I was 12. In that moment, I remember all I could do was sob and cry. His grandfather had prayed one of the sweetest, most comforting prayers I had ever heard, and when he said, “Amen,” Rodney went on to heaven. I remember turning around, and immediately I went straight into the arms of my daddy. He held me in that room, and he didn’t say a word. He just held me. He comforted me. I’ll never forget the way I felt when I was in his arms. It was the absolute safest feeling I have ever had.

You need to understand that my daddy is not an affectionate man. Our hugs are always awkward, he has a serious countenance, and to be honest, he can be quite intimidating, but for that day he was my refuge (my hiding place). He protected me, and helped me through a very hard season in my life, and I will never forget the way I felt that day in his embrace.

Where is the safest place you could possibly be on earth? For some, there may be no place like home where everything and everyone are familiar. For others, it may be in a heavily secured area where military and police personnel are right in your midst. It’s also possible that you feel safe and secure in a place of worship. Or it could be like the place I described to you, in the arms and embrace of someone you love and trust.

But when I think about the safest and most secure place I could be spiritually, it could never compare to the safety, comfort, and love that you can have in a relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s exactly what God gives you every time you and I come to Him in faith. When you need strength, shelter, comfort, love, salvation, assurance, help, and hope, God is whom we can turn to. Psalm 62:7-8 says to trust in Him at all times, to pour out your heart before Him, for He is a refuge for us.

Psalm 62 is a reflective song of worship from King David during one of the most tumultuous times of his life. He was living in a season of despair, discouragement, betrayal, and uncertainty. Many who would have traveled the road that David did would have given up, but not him. He sought the Lord’s protection and help.

I want you to know today that even in the most violent and difficult of storms, circumstances, and struggles, God is your refuge. He is your hiding place. He is your place of quiet rest. You are not alone. Even when it’s hard, even when you’re in a place like David was, or like I was as a child, know that you have a Father in God whom you can run into with arms wide opened waiting to receive you. You will have never felt so safe and so sure of His love.

As I think about what my daddy did for me that day, and the many opportunities I have had as a husband, daddy, and minister myself in difficult times with the people I love, I am overwhelmingly thankful for the refuge I feel when I turn to God in faith. He is my hiding place and protection.

Is He yours? If not, why don’t you let Him? Why don’t you just curl up in His arms today, and pour out your heart to Him? Let Him know how you feel, let Him know of your sorrow and pain. Let Him know that you need Him. I promise you, He will respond with the care and comfort that you need.

It’s very possible that as you read today, you may be going through difficult times. I hope and pray that God’s Word gives you comfort today. If I can be of any ministry to you, please let me know. I love you, and I know that HE loves you infinitely more! Rest in your Refuge, the Lord, today.

God, I am thankful that You are my hiding place, my refuge and my strength. Even when my heart hurts, I can turn to You. I give You full control of my circumstances. I find great comfort in knowing You are there. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Rev. Peter McDonald, Midway Baptist Church