Saturday, December 3, 2022

A castle to keep me safe

Have you ever had one of those weeks when you feel like you are constantly on the go?  You might have work, children’s activities, projects at home and an endless list of things to do.  I find that when my schedule gets crowded, I tend not to be able to hear the voice of God as clearly as I might during quieter times.  It’s almost as if we put our hands over our ears to block out the noise, but all the while, we are also blocking out the one voice that can bring us life.

That’s when I turn to the Psalms.  No one knew better than David what it meant to be buffeted to and fro by the stresses of life.  One of the ways in which David dealt with that anxiety was to turn it over to God in song – what we now know as the Psalms.

Psalm 71 has always been one of my favorites.  I was always the child who was seeking out small quiet spaces – the fort, a closet, or up in a tree. So, when I read in Psalm 71, verse 3, “Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; you are my crag and my stronghold,” I knew exactly what David meant.

Not too long ago, my family and I went on vacation, which included climbing a 70-foot wall, and rappelling back down.  As my husband and I paused for a breath between turns, we looked up and saw our young daughter climbing with great skill up one of the hardest paths you could take.  She was clinging on by her fingertips and her toes, carefully choosing each move.  At one point, however, she found that her only option was to go into a little cave carved out in the rock.  She stopped there for some time, and when we encouraged her to keep going, she yelled down to us, “I like it here.  I feel safe.”

As children of God, we are never given a guarantee that our lives will be easy.  Some days might be easier than others.  When we experience those difficult days, or seasons or even years, it’s important to remember that while we may feel like the climb up is endless, God always offers us shelter from the storm when we need it most.  God wants to cradle us, to comfort us, to keep us safe.

On your busiest days, take the time to find your small, quiet space – whether it’s 10 minutes in the car line, a little extra time on your knees in church, or sitting on the couch with the television off holding your loved ones close.  God wants to speak to you, if you can take the time to listen, and remember what it’s like to say, “For you are my hope, O Lord God, my confidence since I was young” (Psalm 71:5).

Catherine Thompson is a senior pastor at the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation in Lewisville.

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