January 11, 2011

Being a Shelter

Psalm 31

In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues …
Psalm 31:20


Francis and Edith Schaeffer were on to something in 1955. In their Swiss home, they established a living and learning community named L’Abri, which means “shelter.” To quote from their website, “They sought to provide a shelter from the pressures of a relentlessly secular 20th century.” Another form of relentless pressure is the terrorism in our world today. Today’s anxieties are generated in many ways, from senseless acts of brutality and callousness to clever manipulation. All of it crushes the human spirit and steals from its liberty.

The psalmist names God as our refuge from powers that tear at our peace. We are invited to know him as our rock and fortress, a sheltering presence when we feel overwhelmed by a world full of arrogance and intrigue. It’s a mistake to think shelter happens just by getting cozy with other Christians— although Christian friends certainly are important. Only the Holy One provides security for the frightened soul. We soon discover that the world snared in our own hearts is what terrorizes us most. We need our Maker as our Refuge—and nothing less.

Read Psalm 31 again; it expresses our fears—and those of our workmates and neighbors. What could you do to make your home a place where people can find refuge in God? Does the peace of God flow out to others through you?

Lord, we hide our fearful hearts in your embrace, where nothing can keep us from living life to the fullest. Amen.

About the author — Norm Prenger

Rev. Norm Prenger is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary. He pastored churches in Alberta and British Columbia before he was disabled by a heart attack and a post-operative stroke. He now lives with his wife, Gwen, near Thunder Bay, Ontario. He enjoys fishing, writing, drumming, and encouraging his fishing partners and neighbors to follow Jesus.

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