Where did you hide as a child?

But God is our refuge

Psalm 62:5-8 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. … O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.

Philippians 4:6-7 Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

When you were a child, did you have a hiding place, somewhere you went to feel safe?

In my small childhood home (two bedrooms for a family of ten), there seemed nowhere to go except inside myself, and I became very good at finding that space. But at boarding school, I hid in two places. One was inside a narrow, covered stairwell with doors top and bottom. The other was high in a cypress tree at the property a block away where we went for recess.

Shutterstock: Air Images

In those spaces, even when I was small, I had a sense of God’s presence with me that I didn’t feel anywhere else. The world out there was too challenging, too crowded, too fraught and frightening. Often I was too flooded to sense he was there in the confusion of competing feelings. In secret, though, the Lord helped me regain my balance. When I’m upset, I can still imagine myself there, take some deep breaths, and begin to relax.

As an adult, hearing other people’s trauma stories, my heart went out to those who blamed God for what they had suffered and thus cut themselves off from his comfort. As a child, I didn’t blame God. I primarily blamed myself. I think it’s natural for children to feel they “should” be able to be “good enough” or “powerful enough” to diffuse the tensions, stress, anger, conflicts, and hurtful actions of the adults around them. Just try harder

God, though, was my refuge. My rock. My place of safety long before I knew anything about Psalm 62, or Philippians 4 or Hebrews 4.

There were times when I doubted God’s power and goodness, when I couldn’t sense his Presence at all. In chapter 1 of Karis: All I See Is Grace, though, I describe a time of crisis when I was able to cry out to him and hear his response. He challenged me to trust him even though I could not understand. Why, if he is all-loving and all-powerful, he allows so much suffering in the world. Why he doesn’t do what I, in my great wisdom, think he should do.

Today, I am making the same choice: to trust. To pour out my heart to him. And then to wait quietly. For God is my refuge, my safety, my hiding place.

You too?

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