I had someone ask me, what does “Refuge” mean? The quick answer is “a safe place.”
Going back to the long-held mission of this congregation – “Helping people believe” – how can you help people to believe in God unless you provide a safe place and a safe community in which to discover who God is and who they are in light of that reality?
Far too many people have walked away from churches (and thus, in their eyes, walked away from God) because they have felt rejected, judged, or even condemned by a church body. The natural feeling is that God feels the same way about them as the church leader or church body does.
God, however, sees what the world does not see in people. God sees beneath the surface – He sees the heart. He sees what is redeemable in a person and calls it forward. And since we are His ambassadors here on the earth, we are the ones called to do that very thing. We are not called to tell people what is wrong with them.
David, when he was young, and before anyone else could see it, was called out by God to be the next king of Israel. The world - through Saul- attacked him and tried to destroy him. So David ran for his life until he found refuge in a cave. There, in that safe place, not only did David find refuge, but so did his men. David became commander over them, saw something very different in them, called it forth, and helped turn that group of misfits into a mighty band of warriors! These people who had lost hope in the system and felt worthless, found a whole new identity and purpose with David. In fact, they went on to become heroes in the new Kingdom!
Is that not an incredible model for the Church today? A church that is filled with the Holy Spirit will see people, not as the world sees them, but as God sees them. And God will use the Church - His Presence - to welcome the weary, speak love and life into them, call forth their best, and help them discover their purpose.
2 Samuel 22:1–4 (ESV) “And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, 3 my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. 4 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”