“Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” Psalm 71:3 ESV
Through the terrible storms our family has had to withstand, God has been a sweet shelter. This verse is one God has pressed upon and given me the grace to hold fast time after time. It is one I rehearse when I’m struggling. It is also one I pray to cling to at my deathbed, especially after watching my husband suffer during his last days. It was painfully sobering to witness my husband’s young body waste away like an old man. My heart was poured out to God in prayer for deliverance, and to be strong enough to be a support and encouragement to him at his bedside. As I would see him gasp for air and struggle to breathe I knew it had to be such a fierce test of his faith. He strained to see clearly, got frustrated that he couldn’t communicate and found no relief from the physical and emotional agony. Thankfully, my husband knew God’s Word well; he read, studied, mediated, preached and lived it out. Moreover, he intimately knew Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. This is what kept him at his most trying hour. Not only did he finish strong, but he got to pray and witness to others with his last words. By grasping onto our Rock, may we never be shaken by such a weighty trial or even possible torture as some of the martyrs had to endure. “A Christian who is patient in suffering hardships knows that what has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, such as the bodies of the martyrs, will not perish even if they seem to be destroyed in this life.” (Augustine)
To think…the commander of the Lord’s army has given orders to save me! From the beginning of time, He set his loving eyes on me while I did nothing to make him attracted to me. Even in my sin and helplessness, He purposed to redeem me through Christ; and set His love and affections on me forevermore. Early on in my Christian life, I started rehearsing this verse every day during my time with the Lord. It has become my personal life verse. It is quite fitting since the entire Psalm is about finishing strong. The psalmist believed in God’s righteousness and had seen Him walk besides him throughout his life. Therefore, even when the enemy seemed to prevail and overpower him at his weakest moments, he knew he could trust the Lord until the end of his life. Likewise, may we remember His faithfulness and be driven in everything to make it be our ambition to finish strong! “The psalmist cried, ‘Be my rock and refuge’ (Heb. maon, ‘dwelling place’) He reaffirmed that God was the permanent home for his soul to which he could always go to find strength and protection.” (Steve Lawson) We are reassured that no matter what we go through in this life or how traumatic of experiences we face, if we’ve trusted in Christ as our Savior, God will be a steady shelter for our ailing souls.
Father God, our solid rock and mighty refuge. Thank you for the riches of your word. Forgive us for any creeping doubts, and renew our faith when we grow weary. When waves of doubt and fear assail us, lead us to the rock that is higher than us. May we grasp on to the spiritual blessings reserved for us in the heavenly places and come running to your burly arms in time of calamity. In Jesus name.