I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalm 91:1-2 ESV)
Monday of this week was a day of mourning. Death came and snatched away life. I turned to Psalm 91 - a passage I often look at for comfort. And I was thinking about the promise: that whoever lives under God’s protection will stay in his protective shadow. He is the Almighty God, the all-powerful God who invites us to live with him, to dwell with him, to abide close to him. But the invitation isn’t all.
We have to respond: “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” God’s power, God’s might, and God’s greatness can be terrifying. We don’t want to naturally run to God. When we meet someone who is incredible, someone who has amazing skills, we are often intimidated by them. How much moreso with God?
But God doesn’t use his power, might, and greatness to intimidate us. He uses his power, might, and greatness to invite us to trust him, to find refuge in him when we face trouble, to live knowing that his protection doesn’t keep us from trouble, but that his protection means that he takes our troubles and makes them serve his purposes.
How do we trust him? How can we know that God won’t use his power, his might, and his greatness in a way that will intimidate us, that will cause us to flee from him? We see how God used his power, his might, and his greatness: he sent his One and Only Son to become a man, to live and walk in our shoes. The Creator became the created. The Infinite tasted the finite. The Powerful became the powerless. And that is how he used his power, might, and greatness - to come to us. And in the greatest display of power, might, and greatness, he chose to humble himself, become obedient, even to the point of death - death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus came to say that there is One, True God who is worthy of all worship. He came to point us back to this one, true God. And rather than allowing this power and might to intimidate us, the God-Man used his power, might, and greatness in service - by dying on a cross, being a substitute for rebels who would admit that they use their power and might to serve themselves rather than God.
This is how we find refuge from God’s greatness and power and might: we find refuge from God in Christ. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” The requirement for coming to God is by approaching Jesus with our weariness and heavy burdens. And in the great exchange, He takes your weariness of soul and gives you rest (Matthew 11:28-30).
Death was not God’s original plan. Death has come into the world because we rebelled against God’s good ways. But now in Jesus, the mighty, powerful, great God invites us to dwell with him, and when we trust him, he makes our hardships serve his purposes and works for our good. No longer is he the God who intimidates - he is the God who draws near and dwells with us so that we might dwell with him. Forever.
I'm Andrew Hall: a disciple of Jesus seeking cruciformity.
I'm a pastor of a multi-site congregation near London, ON; a husband of 15 years; a dad to four little people; a graduate of Providence College (Manitoba) & The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Kentucky).