I sit here clothed but feel naked and vulnerable. A sense of physical and spiritual poverty, a feeling of being stripped down to nothing and scorched by the sun. Broken, lonely, and weak, I am distressed, troubled and endangered. My oppressors seek my destruction, and the flood waters threaten to pull me under. My mind becomes consumed with problem solving tactics. I can run from this loneliness. I can fix this brokenness and sooth this pain. I can build security and create peace. I can strengthen my feeble body. I can find shade and arrive at refuge. Then a voice calls my name. A voice of a shepherd calling his sheep. I know his voice because I am his sheep, and I am reminded to follow him. Thus, I cry out,
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.(Psalms 23 from The Message)
God is my refuge in times of trouble. I run to him with my loneliness. I am secure in God’s everlasting arms and as a result, my soul can find rest. Therefore, when I awake in the morning and retire at night, I sing of his love and strength. When I am scorched by the sun, he is my shade and shelter. The flood waters will not drown me because God is my rock in which I stand. I do not need to say “ ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14) because God gives me his peace which exceeds anything I can understand, and his peace will guard my heart and mind. (Philippians 4:7) God is my king, who shields me from my oppressors. He is a mighty fortress and strong tower, and my enemies cower before him.
God is my everlasting refuge and nothing will ever separate me from him. No one will ever snatch me out of his embrace. I will dwell securely in the holy city living unafraid, fully clothed in righteousness and restoration. No longer feeling vulnerable. No longer a sense of poverty. No longer a refugee.