September 23, 2015

When You're Weak and Needy

I am currently reading through the Psalms and my eye inevitably catches on any reference to God as our refuge, dwelling place, or shield. I love that imagery of God--something about it makes my heart sit down and relax, something about it helps me wrap my mind around the nature and character of God and the way He relates to me. He is strong. Safe. Secure. A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.
But that imagery also says something about me. If He is a refuge, then I am considered by God to be a refugee seeking safe harbor, a traveler longing for a resting place, a weak warrior needing strong protection. He doesn't fault me these things; these are not characteristics to overcome or that I'm expected to outgrow. This imagery simply tells me who God is and who I am in relation to Him.

Although I revel in this imagery of who God is, I look at my life and see a disconnect. I certainly recognize that I seek safe harbor, long for rest, and have frail arms in battle. However, the disconnect is this: When I recognize my need, I don't often call upon God to be my refuge. 

I can tell you what I do instead.
I think about my need or concern, sometimes for hours.
I worry.
I call my husband at work or talk with him about it on the couch after the kids are in bed.
I write out my thoughts, because I don't know what I think until I write.
I mull it over with friends. Sometimes. More typically, I wait for them to ask the right questions.
I think about what I wish people knew regarding my need or concern.
I look for ways to meet my own need: a nap, a release of some task, a night out with friends.
I try to ignore my need, especially if it makes me feel weak.
I fill my calendar so I don't have to stop and think about it.

And then? After all that? There are times when I get frustrated with God, because I can't see how He's coming to my aid. I wonder if He cares about me, or if instead He's sent me out to do His bidding and  has forgotten that I am weak and needy.

The Psalms have reminded me of a simple and obvious truth: if God is my refuge and I am a refugee, I actually am to seek refuge in Him. My typical response has me standing out on my own or depending on other poor refugees, when all along I am invited to run and seek cover, comfort, and care in the one Strong Tower, who gives liberally and without reproach.

We need only to ask for help.
We need only to ask Him to meet our needs.
We need only to cast our cares upon Him.

For He is my willing refuge. And He is yours as well.

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper He amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.