A little boy arrives at my triage desk, a wide grin across a face covered with rash. He tells me excitedly about his day, the farm toys he played with, that his favorite food is hot dogs and how much he loves the snow outside. He lets me take his temperature, his blood pressure and his weight, all while holding his beloved John Deere tractor (because green tractors are the best kind,of course).
After he plods his way to the waiting room with his mom, a little girl takes her turn. She quietly sits on her mother’s lap, eyes downcast, looking pale. She answers only a few of my questions in a soft, timid voice, clinging to a large, tattered Paw Patrol stuffy, whom she tells me, has been hers since she was born.
Two beautiful kids, both needing some medical attention, find themselves at this unfamiliar place, laced with feelings of trepidation. They each carry with them their own piece of comfort, to get them through.
We all have things that brings us comfort, those tangible pieces of security we turn to when times get rough. Struggling to get through the morning, we turn to our cup of coffee. Uncertainty looms and we hide inside a hug.
We long for those pieces of solace when uncertainty lingers, when hopes and dreams crumble.
Where do we find our comfort when we find ourselves in that strange place? When those feelings of foreboding ebb and flow?
We are not forsaken
Just as we face times of trouble around us, a medical diagnosis, public health guidelines, relationships that seem hard, we know how hard it is to find that comfort – especially when some of our outlets are now unavailable.
In these unfamiliar places, we can be drawn to the invitation to seek out a stronghold, because “the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9:9-10).
Although it seems like our security is lost at times, as the world spins out of control, we can be certain to find a stronghold in the Lord, for He is present with us.
We are known
My mom is the queen of "favourites." Whether it's your favourite soda, dessert or dinner meal, she usually knows the answer. I often find myself put to shame when I'm around her, because I've not taken the time or effort to know those same things about my family.
More than just our favourites, we are known by God. Deeply, intricately, thoroughly known. He doesn't just see the the things we do - how we act, whom we served and where we went, He knows our deepest longings, the motivations of our hearts (both pure and impure) and our 'hidden' secrets.
This truth may lead us to feel shame, we often don't want others to know us like that, but consider that we are known, and we are loved; covered with grace, He has revealed Himself to us and provides his protection for us, because “the Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him” (Nahum 1:7). What an amazing truth that we are known by our Creator!
Worship our Refuge
In the Lord of the Rings, the people of the land are under attack, seeking protection and security, they flee to Helm’s Deep, a towering refuge in the mountains. You can imagine how they feel as they arrive, breathless, exhausted and weary, then the utter sigh of relief that accompanies them. They are safe now behind the protection of the city walls. They can find rest.
While we may be weary from the panic of the journey, there is an invitation that beckons us, “come to me” Jesus says, “all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We can find rest and security in the strong protection of our Savior, protected and held by the strength of His hand.
In our worship today, may we run to our refuge and find comfort in His protection, proclaiming even in our our weariness and our heavy burdens, "I love you O Lord my strength" (Psalm 18:1).
Where do you need the strength and protection of God today?