We had a fight. The evening was supposed to be a bit of a romantic getaway, and we fought. It sucked (and I rarely use that word). I wanted to talk, he wanted space. I wanted immediate resolution, he wanted immediate sleep. I had a migraine, he had stress. It was a perfect storm.
We were in a hotel, several hours from home. It was too late to go for a mind-clearing drive, and I had no idea where I would drive. He was rolled up in the covers, snoring his nightly medley, and I didn’t want to stay in the room. I needed to get out, get away from him, from the air heavy with disappointment. But where would I go?
I took the book I was attempting to read and left the room. As I walked to the elevator, a sign caught my eye. ‘Area of refuge’ it happily stated in vivid green letters, beside the cautionary red exit sign. What?? Since when do they put those signs up? And where the heck is this proclaimed ‘area of refuge’?
Well, it led to the elevator and the ice machine. A means of escape and a means of cooling off. Refuge.
The mere word ‘refuge’ brought to my mind the old reliable verse, God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) And honestly, that comforted me greatly. There’s not always a sign, in fact, there’s rarely a sign, that tells us where to find an area of refuge. But God is our ever-present refuge. He’s our shelter and strength wherever we are. He’s our spiritual sanctuary, our mental fortress, our emotional retreat.
Over and over, this promise is proclaimed…
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. (Psalm 57:1)
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. (Psalm 31:4)
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 18:30)
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. (Psalm 5:11)
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. (Psalm 118:8)
Of course I wanted a tryst with my husband rather than a trial, but perhaps I needed some alone time in my refuge first. I met God in a little booth in the lobby, while sipping my lemon tea and thinking. I spent the time I needed with him in order to be a better mate for the man I would greet in the morning.
There isn’t always a sign, but there is always a refuge.