Forts (God is Our Refuge, Part I)
Forts like this one often spring up mysteriously while am reading aloud to the children.
Fort building is big business around here. My kids build forts inside – under the stairs, on the storage shelves, out of living room furniture, under the dining room table – and outside – under a big maple tree, under drooping cedars, out of the grass clippings, and in the cornfield. (That was one of my favorites. Before the field corn grew too intimidating, each one of my middle children had his or her own space between the stalks. They carefully showed me how to navigate, and where each person’s space was located.) No potential building spot or material is likely to be overlooked. I don’t think a day goes by that they do not build or play in some fort.
I’ve wondered why my kids take such satisfaction out of making forts. Maybe in a large family they just want some place that is their own. Most of the time they build forts near one another, but each one has a small personal space. Still, fort building seems pretty universal with children from all types of families. Forts are a type of refuge – a safe place to retreat to.
This summer our Sunday school class studied Psalm 119, taught wonderfully by Lucas and Pastor Stephen. During one class Pastor Stephen talked about how many times in the Psalms God is referred to as our refuge. Once you start looking you will see this idea (sometimes with different but related words) all over the place. I’ve done a quick study on the words used for refuge. Generally the ideas associated with the Hebrew words are a place of retreat, shelter, protection, and hope, or when used as a verb, to flee for protection, to have hope, to make refuge, to put trust.
In our Sunday School class we talked about how easy it is for us to take refuge in things other than God. I know the things I am most apt to try put my trust in, and (probably more often for me) the things I do to try in vain to escape from difficulties. The Psalms remind us continually, that no matter what is going on around us, our hope is found only in the Lord.
PSALM 46: 1-3
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah