When I was a little boy, I had a strange fear of sirens. Whenever I would hear one, I would run home crying. Not sure exactly what it was that I was thinking at the time. Perhaps it was the fear that someone I knew was in need of whatever emergency vehicle was erupting with the sound. Maybe I thought I would be run over by the vehicle. I'm not sure, all I know is that the fear overtook me at times and I found solace and comfort in the arms of my mom who was always waiting for me at home.
When we find ourselves in trouble or afraid, we all run to something. Some of us run to good and healthy things while others run to things that are not so healthy. In the midst of our troubles, there is only one place that we can run to which will last and never falter: God.
The problem is, we want to run to Him on our own terms, dictating how long we find comfort and refuge in Him and what we do while we are there. The Psalms give us some great word pictures of what happens to us when we find refuge in God. Psalm 34:7 says, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them." That's such a neat word picture to me, the idea of being surrounded by the angel of the Lord. It's kind of like when I was a kid and my mom would just hold me and wrap her arms around me. I felt safe and secure, which is how we are to feel when the Lord encamps around us as well.
At some point though, we need to face our fears. We can run to God for solace, comfort, and refuge, but there needs to be a transformation that takes place within us if we are to grow. We can't find ourselves continuing to run from the same fears for the rest of our lives. Part of facing those fears is allowing God to do the work in us that He needs to do. While we take refuge in Him, we may find ourselves facing those troubles and fears.
As human beings, we have an innate response to fear and danger which usually results in self-preservation. We are not creatures who are always seeking new things and changes, but we run to find solace in the familiar, the safe, the known. But God will often cause us to be on unfamiliar ground in places that seem unsafe and circumstances that are unknown. We need to be careful not to run too quickly out of or away from these situations because these circumstances and situations are formative if we allow God to do the work in us.
When we find refuge in God, He will remain with us and never let go. He will pluck us out from the dangers that may entangle us, but He will also seek to use those dangers to make us become more like the image in which we were created. We all love the familiar, but simply sticking to the familiar may mean that we are doomed to live lives of mediocrity rather than becoming more refined, restored, and transformed into who God wants us to be.