The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. – Nahum 1:7
Where do we turn in the day of trouble? That’s an important question to ask ourselves. The world gives us a lot of options doesn’t it? We have drugs and alcohol that we can turn to, but that has never done anything except create deeper issues. Sex and pornography are one of the biggest strongholds in this country, but then I’d have to ask if the guilt and shame that comes with either of those is worth the price we will pay? What about music? I love music. Sometimes the words of a particular song strike a chord with me, and I will turn to listening to that song to deepen whatever emotion I may be feeling at the time. Music is great, but after 3 or 4 minutes the song ends, and we are left with stirred emotions and nowhere else to turn, except for maybe the next song.
Movies, friends, video games, social media, there are a lot of things this world offers but none of them offer any real shelter. Perhaps the most dangerous of all of these things that the world offers us is really found in ourselves. The message is loud and clear in our culture, “Trust in yourself. Believe in yourself. You are the only one you can count on.” That’s the message our youth are growing up hearing. It’s all garbage. Self-reliance breeds pride and independence. If you are depending on yourself, where does that leave God?
If you have ever spent any time reading the Psalms you will find countless times where the Lord is referred to as our shelter and stronghold. We are constantly being redirected to the only real and true refuge – Jesus. He is with us always, never leaves us or forsakes us, He is our shelter – the one we run to, our dependence is to be on Him alone.
He knows and preserves His children.
He is a stronghold in the day of trouble.
I’ve thought a lot about ‘the day of trouble’ and I used to believe that was referring to those really hard times we go through in life. Our day of trouble is today, it is right now. We face dangers and temptations each and every single day. Do you know how many times already today that the Lord has spared your life? Scriptures has several accounts where we read it was the Lord who kept us from sinning (Genesis 20:6, Exodus 20:20, Psalm 19:13). Nothing this world offers us can do this. The older I get the more I see just how desperately dependent on Him I am to be. (1)
God is the only source of true spiritual fulfillment. Anything else is temporary and false. It is a shadow of the real spirituality of God. Shadow spirituality is any form of spirituality that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only Lord of life. Shadow spirituality refuses to acknowledge the sovereign power and authority of God. Shadow spirituality dismisses the Bible as the Word of God.
Even churches are not immune from shadow spirituality. Many churches are wrongly preaching that Christ is merely one of many ways to God. They preach in direct opposition to God's Word and plan of salvation. Jesus warned, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Matthew 7:15).
People who claim they are "spiritual" define their spirituality as any dimension of the human experience that is beyond the physical -- whether it is the occult, paganism, mysticism or any human-designed religion. Their goal is for people to become enlightened and empowered. They seek a strong self-esteem and a balance of spirit, body, and mind. Unfortunately, these are elusive goals leaving their seekers spending their lives constantly searching for more.
Christianity provides something far greater than improved emotional health; it provides complete emotional transformation. Only God can heal our emotions and make us whole. We will never find wholeness unless we make Christ the center of our lives. The apostle Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
(1) Whitt Madden, "Shelter," Treasuring Christ, April 20, 2014.