Marc Phun has been a part of UFC Youth leadership for the past couple of years. He gives his energy to worship and to personal discipleship. His heart for the youth runs deep, and you can see his desire for people to enter into pure and intentional worship when he leads. Marc writes this entry from that same place of desire for people to encounter Jesus, a desire that youth would encounter Jesus and seek Him as their only place for refuge.
Read as Marc writes on why it is important to place your hope in the right place during times of trouble, as we all experience a displacement of hopes, no matter what season we are in.
A violent storm is approaching fast, you see the clouds rolling in. Thunder, lighting, wind, rain, hail. Small rocks are being thrown off the ground, you have to battle with the wind to get where you need to. Your first instinct is to run, to seek refuge in something greater than any raincoat or umbrella. You find shelter – a roof, a covering, a house, a home, a safe place. Why is that not always our instinct when it comes to emotional distraught? How about relational conflict? And especially in doubt of the promises that we are secure in the love of God? Why do we run to huts made of mud and sticks instead of a strong tower that can never be shaken?
For me, I naturally lean on people in my life – good people who seek the Lord. I trust their abilities over mine, I think I know them and I seek to find my safety in them instead of the one who created and formed my heart. I place hope in family to fix my emotions, I place my joy in the friends that surround me. And that’s fine for moments, days, maybe weeks, but is it everlasting? No. There is only One that we can completely lean the weight of our souls on without it breaking.
Jesus is our greatest refuge and in scripture we are constantly told to hide (Colossians 3:3), to remain in, to abide (John 15:4), to keep in the shadow of a mighty God (Psalm 91:1), to put our hope and our entire trust into him (Psalm 43:5).
When fear comes, hide in the promise that nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:38-39). When anxiety is at a record high, realize that He has prepared good works for you to walk in before the Earth’s foundation was laid (Ephesians 2:10). When relationships fall apart, know that his a steadfast love is for you and is something you can hope in (Lamentations 3:22). When you feel incomplete and broken, know that He will finish what he started in you (Philippians 1:16).
Looking at Isaiah 25, we see a picture of the future hope. It foretold God swallowing up death forever. God has and always will be our hiding place, the only person we can trust completely with our whole lives, our whole souls.
“For you have been a stronghold to the poor (in spirit), a stronghold to the needy (we all are, we just need to recognize it) in distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” (Isaiah 25:4)
One of my favorite worship songs says, “In my weakness, your strength is perfect” (Be Still by Bethel). That line always comes to me when I see my weakness and know only who can make me stronger. And in the words of Sol Rexius, “The weaker we are, the harder we lean, the more we lean, the stronger we grow.” Lean on Christ that is, our true source. That’s easier said than done, because we are prideful and love being self sufficient. But we must.
We continue in Isaiah 25 which says,
“And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is over all peoples (our sin), the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:7-8)
Today we have that as a reality, because of Christ who took upon himself all of our sin, which leads to death. He abolished the power of it over us even though we are sinful, there is constant redemption in his grace, day by day, hour by hour – we need his grace – and he is gracious to pour it out. The cross of Christ swallowed up death. We are free when we believe, when we throw our lives into the shadow of the cross. We stand on this side of the cross so we can now say,
“Behold this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9)
Hide in the cross, where sin is gone. Hide in the risen Christ, where death fell away the moment you believed. Hide in the goodness of his promises where the weight of guilt and shame is no more. Hide in the Creator and cornerstone of all creation because he is reconciling all things to himself. Hide in God your salvation because he has already finished the work. Hide in the one who formed your heart, so that you can do good, because apart from him we cannot possibly do so. You are secure when you hide in the only perfect One – Jesus.