In many ways, this is where it all comes together. All the Happy Soul secrets. All the Happy Soul actions. They begin and end here, with taking refuge in God. It starts with trusting in the charity of Christ for the salvation of our souls. It continues with trusting in the grace of God—in this “already but not yet” space—while we wait for our salvation to be complete. It starts with a correct view of God as our merciful rescuer. It continues with a correct view of God as our powerful sustainer.
I am at rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will never be shaken.
The metaphor of taking refuge in God is central to the Psalms. There are dozens of psalms that portray God as a refuge—a place where God’s people can take cover from the storm and have no worry for their well-being. The original Old Testament audience would have clearly recognized this messaging through the usage of terms like strong tower, rock, fortress, shelter, shield, stronghold, and more. In a world without weather warnings and instant news updates, having a safe place nearby to run to in case of attack—whether that be from the enemy or from the clouds above—was a necessity for survival. Their world was continually filled with military and environmental threats; shelter from their potential woes was always sought out.
This refuge motif is also closely connected to the portrait throughout the Psalms of God as our King. In the book of Judges, there is a fable told that helps us understand the connection God’s people would have had with taking refuge and kingship. In this Old Testament parable, a group sought a king, and one character who had been asked to reign over them replies to their requests: “If you really are anointing me as king over you, come and find refuge in my shade” (Judges 9:15). Taking refuge is the proof of trusting the kingship.
The one who lives under the protection of the Most High
dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say concerning the Lord, who is my refuge and my fortress,
my God in whom I trust:
He himself will rescue you from the bird trap,
from the destructive plague.
He will cover you with his feathers;
you will take refuge under his wings.
His faithfulness will be a protective shield.
As a college student, I served on Wednesday nights with a youth group the next town over. The church, established in 1837, had several buildings from several different eras, all of which were connected by hallways and unique spaces. One of these spots was my favorite for when we played hide-and-seek during youth lock-ins. It was a small space tucked under one of the stairwells. It was too small to store much in, but big enough that I could crawl into it, curl up, and relax while everyone else frantically found a good hiding spot. My spot was so good that one time I fell asleep and was woken up by the sound of several kids calling my name. They were trying to find me! The game had ended but I never showed back up to the youth room. That spot under the stairs was a safe space. It was my hide-and-seek refuge. I had surrendered to the safety of the spot, so much so that I had fallen asleep.
The Happy Soul is so convinced in the strength and faithfulness of her King that she readily takes refuge—seeks safety—under His protection. Once we have the goodness and grandeur of God settled in our minds, resting in Him comes much more naturally. It doesn’t come perfectly, but it can become our preference. If we want the benefits of being in the shelter of God’s wing, we have to let go of our plans and our “power” in order to rest. Being able to sit and rest under the shelter of God’s safe plan and mighty hand recognizes that He is in control. He is able to see the big picture. He knows what has been and what will be. He loves me more than I can imagine. He has good plans for me.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is compassionate.
The Lord guards the inexperienced;
I was helpless, and he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
This is an excerpt from my book, Secrets of the Happy Soul.