DAY #12

Psalm 46:1-3

One of the things a world pandemic has taught us is that human beings need touch. My husband went to see his mother as she lay dying in the hospital, but he couldn’t touch her or even be in her presence. He spoke to her through the window of her room. She passed a few days later. I wonder if she would have lived longer if he’d been able to touch her.  

When babies are not held, they develop an infant form of depression. Touch is the most highly-developed of a baby’s five senses. Through skin-to-skin contact, they receive the unmistakable message that someone loves them. Without that touch, they conclude that they don’t matter. God gave us breastfeeding for this reason. It allows for skin contact and eye gaze, building the brain of the infant. 

Many of the other things we naturally do with infants also build the brain. Prosody, the high-pitched vocal singing, as in “Coochee-coochee-coo” comes forth, the voice naturally floating up into the high range when we notice an infant. Even this has a purpose: the infant’s ears resonate with higher pitches; the child becomes afraid at hearing lower pitches. We snuggle, tickle, rub noses—all communicating love and affection, and building that infant’s brain. 

Sometimes humans just need a hug, or other physical token of love. How then, can we feel the presence of the invisible God? Well, he may not show up in flesh and blood, but we can go to the trees standing tall like strong arms and legs, and the rivers running like a bloodstream through the earth. We can surround ourselves with nature, asking God to send us His Holy Spirit to comfort us while the world around us falls apart. 

Imagine yourself walking along a path through a forest. The mighty trees stand tall, swaying gently in the wind. Now imagine coming into a sunlit meadow with soft, green grass, bright flowers, and a little brook singing its way along. Imagine sitting in the soft grass. Jesus joins you there, sitting beside you as a Friend, interested in your life, your thoughts, your feelings. Oh, how sweet to be with Him. Suddenly, the sky darkens; the earth rumbles and shakes. Trees begin to snap and rocks shake loose from their foundations. Jesus takes you by the hand and leads you to a strong tower, built to withstand the storm. There you continue to enjoy His presence as He holds you until the storm passes. 

Dear God, thank you for being a strong Protector of our souls. Thank you for giving us courage to face the storms that come upon us. Thank you for touching our lives with your presence. Help us feel you near. Amen. 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” Psalm 46:1-3.

63 thoughts on “DAY #12

  1. Bonnie

    Refuge can mean a condition of feeling safe or sheltered from danger. My prayer is that I will continually connect to my Refuge throughout this life journey where we can encounter so many things that threaten our physical and emotional safety.

    Reply
  2. Daniel Parsons

     In your post, please share with us a time when you felt God protecting you.

    When I woke up from a coma after suffering 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 1/2 of my body. God kept me alive as smoke from apartment fires kills people before the actual flames do. I was saved for a reason and I pray that I will seek and do God’s Will each day.

    Reply
  3. Ann

    My sister and I had planned a whole day of hiking. We parked my Civic at the end of the hiking trail on a little-used logging road. Exhausted after the exhilarating, but challenging hike, hours later we climbed in the car. The “road” was pretty narrow and lined with tall grass. As I attempted to turn the car around, we suddenly realized I had backed over a very deep ditch! Only the front tires and part of one of the back tires were touching the ground. We teetered over the edge. Adrenaline hit, and I stomped on the gas. Angels must have literally pick up the car and set us back on the road! Over and over we could only praise Jesus for His protection in our time of great need.

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  4. Colleen

    I really resonate with God as being my refuge. He has been a continual refuge for me throughout my journey with Him. One of my early personal encounters with God was at a time when my life was spinning out of control and I was shut in by overwhelming difficulties. After an evening in the hospital where my mother was given a poor diagnosis I spent a restless sleepless night. I had an sense of fear, anxiety and loss. I wrestled with God and finally surrendered to His will and let go and fell to sleep only to be woken up by an emergency phone call from the doctor. I rushed to the hospital, a 40 minute drive away, and was told my mother may not live long enough for me to get there. When I arrived she was barely hanging on to the doctor’s amazement my mother revived when she saw me and I held her hand. I promised her she would not have to through this alone that I would stay by her and comfort her. I did. She lived a week longer as I sang to her, read the Bible to her, held her hand and addressed her and talked to her. She slowly let go. Many amazing things God did during that week that gave me evidence that He was with me and was my refuge. One night I knew things were imminent and when I heard her breathing change I instantly knew this was it. I crawled into bed with her and held her. She died in my arms peacefully the way I knew she wanted to go. After this experience God brought me into real communion with Him and into growing in knowledge of Him. I have a long list of unusual physical maladies and intense injuries over the years. I have suffered abuse and a troubled marriage, injustice, career challenges, heart and spiritual warfare. Body, mind and heart pain and losses. Through it all God has been faithful. I am now facing a situation in my life that brings me back to that initial time God first made me aware He was with me and would be my refuge in the storm. I feel now like the storm is both inside of me and outside of me. I expect to experience the storm increase as I move ahead. I pray God will again be my refuge and show me the way and shelter me with His awesome loving presence. I encourage everyone to put your trust and faith in Him rather than your emotions and the appearance of things. May you be blessed in your journey!

    Reply
    1. Jeannie

      Oh God, thank you for being a refuge for Colleen. May she know You very close to her as she faces ongoing storms in her life. Thank you for being Her Tower of Strength!

      Reply
  5. Belinda

    Several years ago I faced very difficult circumstances where through no fault of my own within the space of 24 hours I lost my job and was kicked out of my home. As a result my mental health deteriorated and I lost all hope and became suicidal. During a suicide attempt that should have ended my life God sent his loving protection in the form of a friend who miraculously happened to find me and was able to get me to hospital just in time. Thankfully God was also with me through the recovery to the point where I have now completed a theology degree because I fell in love with him and his undeserved protection and care and want to help others experience it too. Without Gods protection I would no longer be here. Thankyou Jesus!

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  6. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    I’m thankful to meditate on Jesus as my refuge and help. I’m thankful He is with me through everything. I think back over my life and see Jesus there even before I knew Him. He has always been with me.
    Peace

    Reply
  7. Cheryl

    I have a hard time recognizing God’s presence with me in my everyday life, whether in trials or sorrow or loss or even in the good moments. It is very frustrating for me. I do know with my mind, He has brought me through many things. I don’t hear His voice guiding or leading me. I am determined to find Him and His love for me.

    Reply
    1. cree

      I admire your determination to do that, Cheryl. It’s the most difficult thing to do when we’re dispirited and feeling hopeless. You actually inspire me. And I appreciate your honesty, so thank you for sharing 💙

      Reply
    2. Jeannie

      Dear Cheryl, I hear you. In the winter where we live, we get two special kinds of frost: hoar frost and rime ice. If you’re not familiar with these, Google can help you. Both of these frosts form, most often in the dark of the night, in the silence of loss and sorrow. When the morning finally breaks and the birds break forth in song as the sun rises, the beauty is astounding. Jesus is praying that your faith will not fail. (Luke 22:32) And when the sun shines once again, the beauty you see will amaze you!

      Reply
  8. Megan

    A little over a year ago, there was a window where my health wasn’t too bad, so I went to a camp. The theme was gardening/agriculture and faith. The campground was surrounded by bush and hills, and there was a small lake nearby. A day after arriving, a bushfire to the south suddenly flared up. It was burning out of control, so we monitored the updates carefully, while continuing with the program. (Several of the attendees were locals, so they often left to help with firefighting efforts.) I was already out of my comfort zone, not used to being around people I didn’t know, and the fire was a new level of threat. On Friday night, the fire tore up the coast through the national park, and we received a ‘shelter in place’ warning text at midnight. I saw the orange glow of fire above the gum trees, burning only a few kilometres away, and didn’t sleep. Needless to say, I’m sure most of us were praying. The strong southerly wind appeared to be pushing the inferno and the smoke away from our camp. The fire only threatened the boundaries of the campground on the final day (Sunday), after we had left. The highway was closed in places and the trains cancelled, so I had to catch a ride with some of the campers, and we navigated the drought-stricken backroad country towards the relative safety of Newcastle. I learned later that a woman had perished in her home in that bushfire, when it encroached on a village just north of us. Several homes were lost. She didn’t have time to get out. So, my thankfulness for feeling protected and getting out alive is bittersweet; tempered with sadness and survivor’s guilt. I can only hope she knew Jesus.

    Reply
  9. Valerie

    My husband and I were driving together once, and at a lonely intersection with no traffic lights there was a semi-truck facing us waiting to turn (to our right). Since we had the right of way, we didn’t think much of it. The driver must not have seen us behind the truck in front of us, or just plain didn’t pay attention, because he started turning into us at the exact time we crossed the intersection. Instantly we felt the car zoom forward, over a cement piece, and out of the truck’s path. Either an angel pushed us forward or God helped my husband really step on the gas and swerve in that split second, or a combination of the two. He literally had no time to think. My adrenaline goes up just remembering. We were so thankful for God’s protection!

    Reply
    1. Sabrina

      I had a similar experience while driving one time! Those kinds of experiences really make me realize that God has a purpose for me.

      Reply
  10. Sharon

    Another tough one. I have always associated physical touch with pain, even touch that most people would consider healthy and beneficial. I was born with transparent skin, and whenever anyone touched me, even just the faintest brush with a fingertip, I would scream in agony. Another is whenever someone grabs me, however gently, and pulls me along with them. My joints come loose and then pop back in place at an awkward angle upon release, accompanied by excruciating pain. I look normal. My skin is no longer transparent. But I still cannot be touched by another person without experiencing physical pain. I don’t know why. I’ve never been diagnosed with anything specific that could cause such sensitivity. The best doctors have been able to do is tell me to learn to live with it. Well, the easiest way to live with it is to avoid getting too close to others physically. Which results in emotional and relational distance as well. I get my “healthy physical touch” from my stuffed animals, one of which is specially weighted to make it feel more like a human hug. Obviously, it’s not an exact replacement, but it’s how I survive.
    Perhaps this is part of why I struggle so much with feeling God’s love. It’s so often equated with human love, which has a definite physical aspect to it. God, being God, has a few ways to “hug” me safely: rainbows, fog, and birdsong are a few that immediately come to mind. It’s still laced with pain because I just always hurt phyiscally, but there’s hope there as well. As far as God being my Refuge? Again, I probably don’t fully understand that word, because it’s laced with pain, but I’m here. He’s somehow gotten me through trauma and abuse, neglect, suicidal thoughts and attempts, natural disasters, well-intentioned people who had no clue their attempts to help where causing further harm, and countless other things I’m not even aware of. I’m shattered and broken, both physically and psychologically, and often struggle to view the future positively, but I’m here, living as best I can. So God must see something I still can’t. Because I can’t come up with any other reason for me to still be here.

    Reply
  11. Sarah

    I know God has been my Refuge countless times. But the time that stands out to me most is when I was living with the family who abused me. True, I can remember many times He protected me physically, but in this instance He became my mental Refuge. One day the family decided to move me out of my room in the house to a tiny, deteriorating shack made of disintegrating bamboo walls and a sieve-like leaf roof. I think they intended to isolate me further, but being alone with a purring cat despite trying to find a dry place to lie down and sleep at night was the very thing I needed to begin hearing God’s voice again and realize I needed to escape. I had extreme panic attacks during that time whenever I went back to the main house with the abusers, and sometimes I felt like I was losing control over my mind. It was a terrifying feeling. But I believe being able to retreat to the shack where I could be alone and pray prevented me from having a full mental breakdown. I remember one evening I went to bed feeling utterly worthless and questioning God as to why He brought me to help people when I had nothing to give them. That night I had a vivid dream where He took me into a room with people of all nations and languages and cultures and beliefs who didn’t know Him, but were searching for peace and love and joy in the midst of a world of fear and hatred. He told me they didn’t know they were looking for Him, but that I did, and that He had a purpose for my life: He had called me to make friends for eternity and share His message of peace and love and joy with them. That night, before sleeping, I had given up. But He spoke to me through that dream, restoring my hope. About one month later I finally escaped the abuse and began the healing journey.

    Reply
      1. Sarah

        It’s true. He was a little black cat that terrorized everyone else. He seemed to live with his claws in motion and no one liked being near him. But with me he just seemed to melt. He always wanted to be near me, touching me if possible. He never used his claws on me, and he never quit purring. I believe God sent him to share His love with me in a way I tangibly needed during that difficult time.

        Reply
  12. Shirley Mann

    There have been a number of times that I am sure God was protecting me. One that stands out is a time when I had been in western Wisconsin taking a summer school class and was driving home on a Friday afternoon. I went to sleep at the wheel and awoke to see that I was in the oncoming lane with a very large semi heading right towards me. I think maybe the driver of the semi had been honking his horn, but I do not remember hearing anything that woke me up. In any case, I woke up in time to avoid a probably fatal collision.
    I now use a CPAP machine while I sleep at night and I have not felt sleepy while driving for several years. The only down side of using it is that even if I want to take a nap during the day I just can’t go to sleep!

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  13. Sabrina

    Living by myself as a single young woman has left me feeling vulnerable at times. But God has reminded me in so many ways that He is my refuge and provider: keeping my car functioning, providing a supportive community, giving me wisdom to solve problems, sending wonderful friends.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      It’s a bit different for me but similar. I’ve been a woman in a man’s world of ministry directors. I haven’t received the support from church that men tend to receive. But God has made it up to me by moving on people outside the church to support me.

      Reply
  14. Amy

    Enjoyed reading all the experiences posted here. It encourages me to see how God has been with you all. I experienced God’s peaceful protection while we lived as missionaries outside my home country. My husband traveled often, sometimes gone for a week or two. The country we lived in is full of murders, robbery and kidnapping. I was not able to go anywhere alone. Yet, I never experienced any criminal activity and slept peacefully every night. For me this was a huge miracle.

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  15. Jess

    I love that God is our refuge and strength, always present in our troubles!
    I felt that He was with me especially last night during day 11 of Jesus meditation. I had gone through a trying day and just cried away during the meditation but felt it to be cleansing.

    Reply
  16. Jane

    While working at camp the summer before my senior year in high school, I went with a friend to make a quick trip into town. The camp was up a mountain on a gravel logging road. It seemed we were going a bit too fast, but I didn’t want to say anything. Then, when we came to a 90 degree corner, my friend tried to regain control of the vehicle, but we were headed straight into the mountain-side of the road. She steered to avoid it, but then we were headed straight for the edge on the opposite side. Thankfully, the camp nurse who was also with us, grabbed the wheel at the last minute so that we didn’t go straight over, but rather at an angle. After sliding about 40 feet down the embankment, the vehicle stopped in a very precarious position. We carefully got out, grateful to be alive and that we didn’t roll. I believe angels stopped us and kept us from rolling. Praise God for His protection.

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  17. Kristina

    As a a young adult I was speeding down the highway and almost missed my exit. As I turned to make it, I couldn’t slow down enough and my car flew off the the side of the ramp embankment. My car should have flipped or at least hit one of the post head on but instead my car gently landed right side up, missed all the posts and I came to a stop in the grassy area. Needless to say I learned my lesson about speeding and taking an exit too fast. I praise the Lord for his protection that day and all the other times He has protected me.

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  18. Ericka

    man. i dont know for sure of a time when i realized it in the moment. but one always comes to mind when i think of questions like this.
    my first year of college i went from my tiny little town (300 people, a k-12 school with maybe 300 students in it at any given time, from a huge rural area stretching nearly an hour away in some cases, and a couple kids even from canada – we’re kinda close to the border and we were closer than other towns/schools for that family..) anyway.. growing up rather protected and naive… and i went to a liberal arts college 6 hours away from home. i knew no one there.

    i wish i could remember more from my time there. i guess im kinda thankful i remember as much as i do, pieces here and there. but there are things i did that i honestly dont remember.
    anyway, i walked campus late at night. i went places alone a lot (introvert). and i started calling the local country station to request songs and eventually struck up a friendship with the evening dj – just talking for hours i think (which was something considering i hate the phone and i had a bf already – who became my husband – but he was always too tired to talk by the time he got off work. anyway. that relationship was fine, it was never really threatened)..
    anyway, i didnt really realize it at the time, but it started to become apparent that he was kinda falling for me, the poor guy. and i was pretty set on staying with who i was dating so its not like he really asked or tried anything, but i did walk out there a couple of times – one was just to meet him and say hi (and see what he looked like lol) and he ended up driving me back to my dorm – and he turned music on and it was Rigoletto of all things – and the 2nd time was when i told him to play me a song on my last night in town before i went home for the summer and another college in the fall… and he played me a beautiful song and i ran out to the station – but i was apparently smart enough to bring a friend with me – a Godly girl who is still a best friend to this day. and he gave both of us a ride back to our dorm..
    and nothing happened. nothing ever happened. my bf was never out of the loop on this, but he thought it was silly that i didnt realize this guy was in love with me.

    but i realize that under different circumstances, i really put myself into what could have been a dangerous situation. anything could have happened on that first ride back to campus. but it didnt. and i dont know if i should just think that what i imagine could have happened is much more rare than i think, or if i was honestly that protected.

    and thats just one story. there are so many more like that where in hindsight i thought – man, i could really have gotten in trouble there..
    i just know in my heart i was protected.

    Reply
  19. Nowelle

    I love this one!
    Yesterday, I prayed with our children before we drove to visit a sick friend and get a couple of groceries. I asked God to keep us safe while we were driving, and to go with us. He did! We made it back safely. Friends, we can be sure that God is always with us. I pray that I will not take these seemingly small times of protection for granted.
    On a deeper note, God has protected me spiritually by giving me the power to resist temptation. I was tempted to complain about someone. It was perfectly set up, and I felt like I had every right to say something. Immediately I recognized the trap and began begging God to help me not to sin. Within seconds my desire to murmur vanished and my mind became engrossed in what I was doing. That protection of the mind is becoming more important to me than physical protection. I want God to protect us from temptation and deliver us from evil.

    Reply
  20. Mel

    I recently had an experience where a coworker publicized a mistake I had made for several people to see. That morning before it occurred I had prayed that God would help me overcome my idolatry of others opinions of me. Well when I saw what the coworker had done not only did I feel safe in Gods refuge, I didn’t over analyze things and keep thinking over what had happened as I’ve struggled with in the past, but I had a deepening sense of Gratitude for Gods love for me. I was filled with the sense that God would never publicly shame me, and for that I was so grateful. I truly felt closer to God as a result of this experience which would’ve derailed me in the past.

    Reply
  21. cree

    When I made the decision to get baptized, I made a promise to God—-it’s too personal to share, but it was a significant vow to Him.

    About a month before my baptism, the enemy tried to get me to break that promise. The setting / context was the “perfect trap” like there’s no way out of it. It’s like those situations when you are convinced that only God would’ve been able to get you out of it before it’s too late!

    That was a humbling experience. This meditation helped me realize that when I made my vow, He knew that I will never have the perfect will to keep it—-yet, He accepted my vow and honored it even if He didn’t really have to!

    7 years later, He’s still that faithful Heavenly Father, and I know He will continue to protect me from the enemy’s snares.

    I am so very blessed to have a Refuge in times of trouble 🤍

    Reply
  22. Monica

    It is incredibly sad about so many people are missing the human touch that they need. What can we do? We have to pray for them and find other ways to show love. I especially enjoyed the image story of visiting with Jesus in nature. When I am out in nature I feel especially close to God.

    Reply
  23. Vanessa

    I can not count the number of the times I’ve placed myself in flat out unsafe situations and the Lord covered and kept me. He truly is my strong tower.

    Reply
  24. Karen

    Another tearful meditation. Overwhelmed by two things, one that I did not have the best childhood making me seek ’emotional touch’ which explains many ‘relationship’ issues. And 2nd, realizing that the all encompassing love of God is healing me and whispering to me that He has more and more love to give me. Additionally, the Bible verse for #12 is my favorite, thus I thoroughly enjoyed this one. God protected me from so many things, but one was a trip, I rescued a family member who had emergency surgery in the middle of moving across the country. I flew down to CA and drove them to FL in a car with a broken stick shift. It was over 7 days of driving. I still can’t believe I did that but as we know, the Grace and Love of God is All Encompassing, isn’t it!

    Reply
  25. Jeannie

    Truly Jesus is my refuge. I have sensed Him close in some very severe storms. I am so grateful for the comfort and safety He has wrapped around me by the promises of His Word that truly serve as a strong tower.

    Reply
  26. Sasha

    There have been a number of times I’ve been certain that God was near, protecting me from either physical or mental harm. Two times I’ll share. When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 6 months ago, my recent bout with depression should have sent my thoughts and feelings on a downward spiral, but the circumstances surrounding the diagnosis, from the devotional I read that morning to my parents “just happening” to be flying in to visit that same day, gave me perfect peace. God was there protecting me from my habit of negative thoughts. I have since let go of that peace, and, at the start of today’s meditation I questioned, with tears, whether God was truly here with me. I had pushed Him away I thought. To my surprise and comfort, you took us on a beautiful imaginary journey with Jesus right beside us. But it wasn’t imaginary. Jesus is still here trying to protect me from my negative thoughts and holding me during my storm. I tearfully rested my head on His chest, resting in His love, relieved and grateful.

    Reply
  27. Tara

    I have really loved reading through the other posts in this conversation. It’s so amazing how God is involved in our everyday lives and how much He protects us in different situations. He even protects us from ourselves! There are many times I believe God has protected me. One that will forever be precious to me is how He answered “no” to a desperate prayer I prayed for a year and a half. Long story very short: I left God, my husband, the church, and the mission project where I was working because I was just done with it all. I lived my life however I felt like living it for the next three years. My husband pled with me to return. I refused. Through a series of events, God got my attention and revealed Himself to me in a way I had never seen before. I realized how selfish and depraved my life had become and I saw how beautiful God was. I was rebaptized and my passion to share this new picture of God with others grew in my heart. I desired to reconcile with my husband, but he had moved on with his life (and rightfully so). I prayed and begged God for the opportunity to reconcile for the next year and a half. I had to accept the final “no” when my ex-husband remarried. I had fully expected God to do something different, but was surprisingly at peace with the answer. The way God had revealed His character to me during those 18 months was something I wouldn’t trade for anything. And now I am remarried to an amazing man, something I didn’t expect and didn’t even think I wanted. I believe with all my heart that God protected me from returning to something broken when He wanted something so much better for me. And the process helped me to trust His character in order to accept His answer even when I couldn’t see what was to come.

    Reply
  28. Ann

    It is good to remember God’s protection.I forget too easily. One morning I was driving to work and a large buck ran out from the side of the road. He was headed right for my door. At the moment he should have collided into my door antlers and all, he jumped back. It was amazing.

    Reply
  29. A J

    I’ve enjoyed reading the stories of God’s protection. Thank you.

    Two things come to mind to share. First, during the meditation I chose to imagine sitting once again in a field where I felt incredible peace. We were in Kukenhof, Holland. Tulips were in full bloom every direction I could look in April. They were covering the forest floor and filling the nearby fields. As a mom with two young girls 4 & 6, we sat and just enjoyed the warmth of the sun that day and ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There was no urgency to go anywhere. To just be… This is how I want to think of meeting God and knowing he is with me and will hear me and I will feel that peace again.

    Perhaps secondly, I can recall God being with me in a separate encounter where I needed refuge. I was in the center of Amsterdam. My wallet had been stolen. My life was at an ultra low. My husband was not very supportive. I had guests from the USA who were enjoying my hospitality of cooking for them and taking them to see sights but it was more than I could physically and mentally manage. I found myself exhausted, broken and alone. I was separated from the group as I went to report my lost wallet. Afterwards, I sat in the center town square against a wall crying my heart out. God, why? I need you.

    Within 10 minutes someone came over who saw my tears and asked if they could talk with me. They were a Christian group visiting Amsterdam and spoke English. They heard my story and they prayed with me. They gave me a few coins to take the tram to rejoin my family. I will never forget the love of God and my refuge from that day.

    Reply
  30. Erin D

    God has been my refuge through dealing with chronic illness and pain and now also through some difficulties in my marriage. Whatever happens, I can call on His strength and protection.

    Reply

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