New Year’s Eve brought something unexpected to my little family this year: fireworks. Very close fireworks, which possibly came from the back yard adjoining the little townhouse we were staying in. It felt in some moments that the fireworks were in the room with us. That is annoying when your idea of welcoming in the new year is to be in bed by ten, and fall asleep hoping you will remember to start dating things with 2022 the next day. But for my dog, fireworks are terrifying.

Georgia is not bothered by storms, thunder, Nor ’easters, etc, but when that high whine of something about to explode happens, she takes her 100lb. body and tries to find the smallest place of safety in the house. We have spent many a July 4th huddled with her in the kneehole of the built-in desk of our guest room. On New Year’s Eve, my husband sat with her on the laundry room floor until the jubilation was finally over.

Where do you go to escape? When the cacophony of stress threatens to deafen you, when your eyes have seen more tragedy than joy, when your heart breaks with the absence of your one true love, where do you flee?

I hope you flee to God. I pray that you know that in any circumstance, God is a sound-proof rock cave that can withstand any type of assault … whether it be physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual.

Listen to how the psalmist put it:

Psalm 71 (Common English Bible)

I’ve taken refuge in you, Lord.
    Don’t let me ever be put to shame!
Deliver me and rescue me by your righteousness!
    Bend your ear toward me and save me!
Be my rock of refuge
    where I can always escape.
You commanded that my life be saved
    because you are my rock and my fortress.

My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked;
    rescue me from the grip of the wrongdoer and the oppressor
    because you are my hope, Lord.
    You, Lord, are the one I’ve trusted since childhood.
I’ve depended on you from birth—
    you cut the cord when I came from my mother’s womb.
    My praise is always about you.

I don’t know what is about to explode in your life right now, but I do know where you can go for shelter. God’s power is available to deliver you and save you from all manner of evil, slander, wickedness, oppression, and harm. And explosions.

Flee to the Rock, and you will find hope.

Check out my friend Shannon’s thought-provoking post, and sorry about the song that will get stuck in your head all day!

Sheltered by Michelle Robertson

Peaches’ Bone

We have a staff dog named Peaches at my church. She is a little mixed breed who is always happy to see us as we come through the door. (Except for one staff member, who keeps threatening to send her to the pound. We think he’s joking, but Peaches isn’t taking any chances.) She barks until she ascertains that you belong there; then she offers her small, warm tummy for free rubs.

Peaches attends staff meetings, and it’s good to have her there if the conversation gets tense, WHICH OF COURSE IT NEVER DOES BECAUSE WE ARE A CHURCH STAFF. (OK, well hardly ever.) She goes around the room as we talk, and helps herself to a piece of the couch that seems the friendliest. Soon enough, the staff member seated there will find themselves with lap full of Peaches. There is nothing better in a meeting than the warmth of a happy little dog.

Peaches has taken to hiding her bone in the chair in my office. My office is located in the back of the building, farthest from the busy front area. I discovered her hiding place one Sunday when I was meeting with a prospective church member. I was focused on greeting him, and when I sat down, I did not expect a sharp poke in my lower back. It was a Princess and the Pea moment. As I dug through the back of the cushion, I discovered Peaches’ bone. Now I look before I sit. I’m not sure who Peaches is hiding her bones from, as nobody on the staff really wants one. But Peaches understands the value of a good hiding place.

Psalm 27

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.

It is good to know that on the day of trouble, God is our hiding place. He will keep us safe from harm in his dwelling. He will set us upon a high rock where we can spot trouble coming from a long way off.

Worship happens in the house of the Lord in places commonly referred to as sanctuaries. For one hour a week, God offers a place of refuge and respite from the trouble that the world gives. We have a brief sabbath from the normal routine when we get to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and hopefully think of nothing else.

As important as that one hour is, God’s dwelling is everywhere, and the shelter of his sacred tent is available at any moment of any troubled day. HE is our hiding place. When we open scripture or go to him in prayer, we enter into his temple, where peace and safety abide.

What is troubling you today? What do you wish to hide from so that you might catch your breath and regenerate? When hard times come, it is good to know where to turn. God is your rock, your salvation, and your 24/7 sanctuary. Flee to him in your time of trouble. His door is always open.

Peaches and Her Hiding Place by Amy Berge