Monday, 08 May 2017 13:23

The Refuge

Written by  Sam Whatley
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I watched a movie recently called The 33. It is the gripping dramatization of the 68 days that 33 miners spent trapped in a collapsing mine in Chile in 2010. One thing that enabled these men to survive was their ability to reach “the refuge” through the falling debris. The refuge was a large room with a table, benches, and some semblance of food, water, and medical supplies. By severely rationing their little water and a few cans of fish, they held out there for the seventeen days it took someone to drill a hole through 2,300 feet of very hard rock. The tunnels around them continued to crumble. The mountain, itself, kept moving.

The refuge had been part of that century-old copper and gold mine for years. It had been used as a place to rest, eat, and take a break. Miners didn’t think much of it as a life-saving shelter. But when giant rocks started to fall, crushing vehicles and closing every tunnel, everyone knew to race to the refuge. They all made it there alive on day one.


For more than two weeks the men heard nothing from the surface. They had no idea when, or if, anyone would rescue them. The refuge became a shelter of emotional protection as they dealt with their stress, fear, and hopelessness. They prayed together. 


As the eternal night went on and on, an alcoholic without a drink went into delirium tremors. His fellow miners helped him survive the hallucinations and the spasms in his body and soul. The quakes continued in the massive rock all around them. But by trusting God and each other, they were able to withstand the tension and mental anguish of their situation.


The Bible has a lot to say about our need for a refuge, not just for our physical safety, but for all the trials life brings. David says:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea …(Psalm 46:1-2 NIV).

But David also knew God as a friend, someone you could trust with your hopes and fears, someone who would never betray you. As he says in Psalm 62:

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge(Psalm 62:8 NIV).


He knows our secrets, our sins, and our weaknesses. Yet, He still loves us and cares about us. We are on His mind and in His plans. He is our refuge when we think there is no danger, and when the very walls of our world tumble into the pit. He doesn’t just know the future; He creates the future.


In the book of Ruth, Boaz uses the term refuge in a different way. He meets Ruth gleaning in his field and praises her for her love and care for her mother-in-law. Ruth has left her country and kindred and is willing to work in the fields to support her late husband’s mother in a foreign land. Boaz blesses her by saying:


May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge(Ruth 2:12 NIV).


We all need the Person who is our refuge. God knows our every need and He will shelter us from whatever comes against us, if we will seek Him and treat Him as our Lord. Then we will know Him as our creator, provider, and the One who loves us eternally. How can we not trust Him? How can we not seek the shelter of His presence?


When the miners finally left the refuge, one by one, through the tube that took them to the surface, they left a message painted on the wall. Translated into English it reads, “33 miners were here for 68 days. God was with us.”


Do you feel trapped in a situation that sometimes appears hopeless? Go to the real refuge. His grace is sufficient for us. His love never fails. His name is Jesus. He is with us.




Last modified on Monday, 08 May 2017 13:31
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