Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8 NIV)
God, the one and only— I'll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He's solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I'm set for life. My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God— So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be. (Psalm 62:5-8 The Message)
The image of “refuge” in today’s reading is a strong one for me, especially as it pertains to a safe harbor. I imagine a safe harbor as a restful place and a protected place. But it is also a "sending place" - although a safe harbor is, well -- safe -- fishermen and boaters all leave the confines of its shore and jetties to venture out into riskier waters, knowing that the safe harbor is waiting for their return.
We happened to be living in upstate New York when the book “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger came out in the late 1990s, and I had just finished reading it when my husband took me on a surprise trip to an area in Massachusetts called Cape Ann. He was not aware that one of the towns on the Cape -- Gloucester -- served as the home base for the fisherman that were the inspiration for the book that, in fact, tells the story as truthfully as it can since no one survived their fishing trip off of Nova Scotia in 1991. The book graphically describes the life of a fisherman including the challenges both at home and at sea, and the desperation to make a living in a way that they know is high risk and with no prospects to be employed in any other way. These men were not new to this life and they had returned to Gloucester safely countless times; they were ultimately lost because they were caught at the mercy of one of the worst storms in history.
To visit Gloucester right after reading the book and to see life continuing on, fishermen still fishing, boats still coming and going, etc..., gave me a strong sense of the strength that fishermen and their families must draw upon day after day. A monument to the fishermen who have been lost over the decades stands in the middle of the town, and it seems to solidify the town rather than serve as a marker of fear. I really felt a sense of refuge and safe harbor, even though the men and their families still have to step out and face risk daily, as fishing is the town's main industry.
That’s what I picture when I read these words from Psalm 62 -- that God provides refuge -- the safe harbor that I can rest in as I lick my wounds, regroup to face the next day, seek forgiveness, and surrender my “stuff” to Him - the same “stuff” He’s already taken care of and redeemed, but that I seem to continue to grasp. I’m able to draw upon His strength, His steadfastness -- His “mighty rock”ness -- to go out and face risk daily in His name. What's even cooler is that my Safe Harbor goes with me. Even as I venture out into this world, I can trust Him completely at all times that He is standing strong with me all the way. A Perfect Storm can completely damage everything physical about me, but my salvation and my honor will never be lost.
Thank you, Lord, for Your Safe Harbor!
What are your thoughts on today’s reading? The words are very powerful - what images come to mind for you?
Thanks for reading!