Editor’s note – This is the third in 4-part series written by my husband, who has been serving teens and their families for over ten years. If you are just tuning in, catch up with Part One and Part Two.
Reality Check #3: We Will Run Somewhere for Refuge:
When trouble comes our way, it is human nature to run to a place of refuge. Everyone is hard-wired to run to something or someone for stability and security. This can be good or bad, and the truth of the matter is because of our deceitful hearts, we are all vulnerable to run to a false refuge that acts as a mirage. The apostle Paul writes, “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14, ESV). Although this is in reference to false prophets in the church, the principle is Satan specializes in disguising himself as something that will be for our benefit. In a sense, many refuges today, whether intentional or not, act as false prophets full of empty promises.
When the pain and problems of life escalate, we all can be tempted to seek comfort and safety in false refuges. If I’m not careful, my form of refuge can be something as simple as college football. This proves to be a shaky, unreliable foundation when the OU Sooners lose. I experienced this a couple of years ago, when then Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III torched the OU defense. Just like that, my refuge disintegrates.
Just as we are tempted, there will come a time when our children are tempted to run to false refuges as well. This could be entertainment, friends, substance abuse, food, sex, pornography, and so forth. There is not enough room in this blog for an exhaustive list. This can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. So what can we do to prevent this from happening?
First and foremost, it is vitally important that we teach and model to our children to know and trust God as their refuge. The psalmist David drives this truth home in Psalm 18:2 (ESV): “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” The words “rock” and “fortress” are symbolic of the high place of refuge and defense for those who choose to flee to God for protection. David is praising God for delivering him from his enemies including the current king, Saul, who had David at the top of his hit list. David was definitely on the run physically, but ultimately, he knew and trusted God as his place of refuge who is the only source of true stability and security.
In Oklahoma, where tornadoes are not uncommon, an occasional place of refuge is a low place: the cellar. There are not many things that overcome me with fear like the sound of a tornado siren. When we receive this warning, we frantically gather our children and flee to our neighbor’s cellar down the street for protection. The neighbor’s storm cellar is our refuge.
As parents, we have the high calling to instill in the hearts of our children that the only true and unshakable refuge is found in Christ. Parents are a natural refuge of protection for their children. Shouldn’t we as parents do all we can to make our home a safe haven for our children? If not, something or someone will. If you do come out of the cellar every once in a while, then you know our world is full of false refuges for our children to run to. As the writer of Proverbs so accurately said, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12, NLT).
To prevent this, it must be your priority to establish a heart connection of trust with your children. As a popular proverb says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, ESV). We cannot sit on this, because remember, if we are not intentional about providing refuge for our children, something or someone else will.
What are some false refuges not mentioned here? What are some ways you make your home a place of refuge?
Come back next for the final installment of this series.
photo by: brendan-c