“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”Deuteronomy 33:27
The new year has begun! How many people concluded the last hours of the old year with wild and noisy celebrations and welcomed the new year in the same way! It seems as if Satan in his craftiness is trying to prevent people from thinking about the transience of this life and the seriousness of eternity.
But God in His infinite wisdom wants us to pay special attention to such serious hours as the transition from the old year to the new. Moses writes in Psalm 90:10, “The days of our lives…[are] soon cut off, and we fly away.”
In the restless changes of an eventful time, we need a safe refuge that is stronger than the mountains and our perishable earth. We find this refuge in the eternal, everlasting, and unchangeable God! Yes, we need the Almighty as our refuge in order not to sink with the circling flurry into the bottomless depths!
Like the ship that seeks its way through the wild storms of the roaring sea, past threatening cliffs to the safe harbor, our ship of life also needs such a safe place of rest. Woe to the ship that is drifting on the uncertain sea of time and can no longer find the place of refuge!
Just as the soldier who is surrounded by the threatening, deadly ammunition hurls himself into the shelter to seek refuge there, so can we find refuge in God. The fiery darts of the wicked pursue us, and the enemy ruler of death is on our heels, ready to attack us at any moment from behind.
But millions pay no attention to this. They do not prepare for eternity with fear and trembling. Because they do not seek the right place of safety, they will fall into the judgment of God and regret it forever.
It is good, at the turn of the year, to point out to others the seriousness of eternity. Yet how few let their senses be directed toward God! In the kingdom of God, there is more than a careless spirit and exhilarating feelings. What counts here is refuge in the Highest, in God alone.
Is this poor world, where everything is falling apart with its hustle and bustle, only there for me to wear myself out in it? If so, where am I to find courage when my strength is exhausted? Should I find no other refreshment and strengthening than a dark grave that devours me in the end? But there is a refuge and a resting place for my neediness and weakness. “The eternal God is your refuge!” There, I get strength and new courage again. “Have you not known? Have you not heard?…He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:28-29).
This refuge is the best place of refreshment and the source of strength for the burdens and sufferings of life. If there were no such place, many sufferings would simply be excruciating and unbearable. Courage, hope, and patience would then be just empty words.
How many are tired, despondent, desperate, and break down so easily! How many have been embittered and even destroyed by life! They are desolate souls who know only loneliness, abandonment, grief, and misery, who have no hope and even believe that these things belong to the fate of mankind like daily bread. They know no way out of this dark fate. They do not know the refuge in the shadow of His wings, a place where they are able to rejoice (see Psalm 63:8). They are wretched souls for whom the sun has set so early and who end up in the great burial grounds of the hopeless!
Do you believe that this should be your lot as well? No, never believe this! “The eternal God is your refuge!”
There were and still are people who do not collapse, despite disappointments and many a hardship. They always mount up again with wings like eagles. Ask them how they have become strong again from their weakness. Ask them how it is that they can walk the long and dark road of suffering so joyfully and even sing: “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies and Your right hand will save me” (Psalm 138:7).
Go ask them all why they can still remain courageous and confident in the shadow of death and rejoice with heart and mouth: “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) All of them will answer you: “We found everything in Jesus. We have it all in Him! God is our confidence and strength, our help in the great needs that have struck us! Yes, refuge is only with the Lord for all time!”
Of course, only glorious testimonies and experiences of blessed children of God alone cannot give you a safe refuge in your hard struggle in life. You must experience this yourself. The eternal God wants to receive and save you as well so that you will remain protected and safe from all the fiery attempts of the devil. Therefore, go into the offered refuge of your God, which opens wide for you through Jesus Christ. He shelters you in His haven, and His strong arms will carry you through all the suffering and pain here on earth. Here you can build your haven, for here is good living!
It will always go well when we remain in God and Jesus Christ, in the shadow of His wings. Under the eternal arms of God, we have nothing to fear, even in the new year. We will not lack anything good.