"Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress."
Psalm 71:3 (NIV)
I was fifteen years old and did not want to return to Congo (then Zaire). There were going to be some fearful changes in my life when I stepped back on African soil. School had already started a week earlier by the time we arrived in the capital city. The mission school that I had attended in seventh grade was at capacity for students. I could not believe that God was going to make me go to the place I had dreaded the most throughout the my junior high years. I kept hoping with all my might that my parents would receive the message that two students had dropped out of the mission school and I would never have to face my fears by boarding in the capital city. No message came. I had gained sixty pounds during our fifteen-month furlough in the United States. I knew that I was going to be a walking target for other people's ridicule. I felt ugly, worthless, and covered in shame before I set foot on my new school campus.
My fears proved right. I had a very hard time adjusting to my new environment--partly because of the rejection of others and partly because of my own self-pity. My parents, who lived 420 miles into the interior of Congo, made it a point to visit my sister and me every 4-6 weeks. Those visits were my sanity. Dad and Mom were experts at communicating unconditional love to their children. Even if the whole world turned against me, and I felt mine had, they were the place I could always go. They poured themselves into us, giving me courage to face the challenges that could have easily overwhelmed me so far from home. During those times, I was able to "let my hair down." I basked in the knowledge that no matter what I looked like, they would love me, and that their love was a safe place for me to go to find strength to face another four weeks until I saw them again.
I have desperately needed a place to go to find a place of refuge this last week. I have struggled with God over many things that I do not want to face. I have been weary and battle-worn. I have cried out to Him. Sometimes I have felt He is right there. Other times, my imperfect humanness has wanted to stand in terror over what I fear. He knows everything. And what does He do? He asks me to come to Him, again and again.
I have just got to testify about His power this last week. I have woken up in the middle of the night, filled with anxiety about the future. The Lord has quickly saved me from insomnia as I have said His Word out loud in the dark. I have asked Him to be my refuge. Girlfriends--He has! My Jesus has come to me every single time. I have learned through the process that He gives the command to my fear to leave me and I experience the truth of this psalm--He is my Rock and my Fortress.
How big is my Jesus? He is the fear destroyer, the giant slayer, my song in the night. Terror cannot stand in His presence. And all I have to do is cry out to Him to save me. Over and over again I have asked Him to say to my soul, "I am Your salvation." And my soul has heard that truth as His comfort has been the place where I can always go.
Jesus, my soul praises You. I have learned through the wrestling that You are who You say You are. You are bigger than any financial, marital, wayward child problem we may have. You own the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine. You laugh at those who mock You. You delight to show us Your glory. Tell us so that we understand in the depths of our being that You are where we can always go to find safety and comfort. You are in the way of the whirlwind--right in the middle of the storm. It is right in the middle of what we dread the most that You prove Yourself to be our Rock and our Fortress.