Running Home (Psalm 16)
Reflections on Psalm 16
From September 7, 1940 to May 11, 1941 the German Luftwaffe took to the skies under night’s dark pall, unleashing a rain of fire over London. Bombs fell on the ancient highways and halls of this venerable city, piling millennia of history in heaps of rubble. As aerial warfare pocked London’s skies, children were spirited away to country homes and manors.
In this scenario, the fictional Pevensie children of C.S. Lewis’s beloved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe took up residence in Professor Digory Kirke’s mansion. His home became a refuge from the conflagration engulfing World War II Europe.
During their stay, the four refugee children wiled away the hours reading books, playing games, and roaming the verdant countryside. One day, unstaunched rainfall forced the siblings to resort to indoor games. During a fierce bout of hide and seek, Lucy Pevensie squirreled herself away in a lone wardrobe. To her delight, this armoire of coats opened to a magical land teeming with mystery, joy, and talking animals. Soon, the four children whisked themselves to this imaginative land where they kept fellowship with noble creatures, ruled as kings and queens, and found joy in Aslan’s company. In loving Narnia, their shelter from bitter blitzkrieg, the Pevensie children learned to love their own world better.
While German airplanes may not be raining bombs on us, the ferocity of suffering and the blowback of sinful decisions remove us from the safety of our own self-certainty. In these moments, we can wander as prodigals or we can take up the pilgrim’s path toward God; he is our refuge. We will enter his manor as orphaned exiles, but his door is open wide. In this heavenly shelter, we learn to love God better. When we see the many-coursed feast he serves our hungry souls, we will be satisfied. “In your presence there is fullness of joy.” When we drink deeply of his living water, our hearts will be filled to overflowing. “At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
As we consume God’s Word and drink in his presence, we do so in the company of other pilgrims who have fled to security. In the fellowship the Lord’s home provides our joy is multiplied by each person who crosses the doorway in. A good friend of mine constantly challenges me and the others in our church to pursue community at all costs. The wayward winds of live will never stop descending on us like a furor of German air raids. As the bombs drop, however, our community reminds us to return to our truest refuge, the Lord, for he is our home. And in learning to love that home more, we find ourselves better able to love our own worlds.
Footsteps—putting feet on our faith
1. What pain, sadness, or hard situations are you dealing with today?
2. What does it mean to turn to God as a refuge?
3. What can you learn from being in God’s refuge?
4. Why is community so important?
Dear God, you are my refuge. When terror descends on my life, you open your home to me. You feed me from your own table, you teach me how to live, and you give me a family. I am not alone in my running to you. Others flee with me to your security. In the wide expanse of your home and in the company of my brothers and sisters, help me to love you more. In Christ I pray, amen.