22nd March 2017

Emergency Refuge

“In you Lord, I have found refuge; let me never be put to shame. By your saving power deliver me, bend down and hear me, come quickly to my rescue. Be to me a rock of refuge, a stronghold to keep me safe.”
Psalm 31:1-2 (Revised English Bible)

On a motorway journey with stretches of roadworks, a sign which showed the way to ‘Emergency Refuge’ caught my interest. Obviously this was to direct motorists to a place of safety in the event of an unfortunate problem with their vehicle or themselves. I began to think about refuge, what it is and why a person might need to seek it in other situations.

One definition of refuge is: a place, thing, person or course of action that shelters or protects from danger, distress, or calamity.The present refugee crisis that the Western nations are facing is an example. People from Syria and elsewhere, so desperate to escape death and persecution that they would take dangerous risks to reach the West, must be seeking Emergency Refuge. An example I found in the Old Testament is in Numbers 35: 9-15. God tells Moses that six cities must be designated as places of refuge in which the person who has inadvertantly or accidentally killed someone, may take sanctuary. Verse 12 states that these cities will be places of refuge from the dead person’s relatives so that the person is not put to death without a trial before the community.

Of course a person’s need for refuge may not be so dramatic as the desperate people fleeing to the West today or those guilty of manslaughter in Moses’ day, but to him or her the need is just as great. Everyday life comes with its own fears, grief and heartache. Family, work or lack of it, school, illness, death, debt, addiction, homelessness or abuse can all bring someone to a place of despair. So where do they go for ’emergency refuge’? In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus tells us “come to me, all who are weary and whose load is heavy; I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble hearted and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to wear, my load is light.”

Yes Jesus is that ’emergency refuge’ and the only one who can give the peace and safety that so many crave. He is there for all who seek Him and put their faith and trust in Him. Don’t despair, Jesus is nearer than you think and He has love enough for everyone. Reach out to Him now and accept the safety and protection He offers.

Father, please draw near to all those who cry out in despair and by your Spirit draw them to your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus in whose name we ask it.

Study by Susan McGowan


About the Author:
Susan McGowan attends the North London and Stratford Congregations of Worldwide Church of God/Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Stratford Grace Communion Group
The New Room Community Centre
Bryant Street
London E15 4RU

Meeting Time:
Sundays 3-5pm

Local Congregational Contact:
George McGowan
Phone: 07931597380
Email:   george@mcgowan3.orangehome.co.uk

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