"A Real Refuge "
June 17, 2009
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
The Psalmist speaks of the Lord being our "refuge and strength."
Now it seems a church has also become a place of refuge. Allow me to explain. Recently, Mikhail Lennikov, a former officer with the Soviet Union's KGB, was told he could not continue to live in Canada.
On the day he was scheduled to be deported, Mr. Lennikov took refuge in First Lutheran Church in East Vancouver, British Columbia. For its part, the church has said it's willing to keep its visitor safe as long as the order for his deportation is in effect.
It appears Mr. Lennikov has found his refuge.
He's not the first to look to a church for such assistance. In Europe, through the entire Middle Ages, the law decreed church property could serve as a safe haven for criminals.
While there are no laws protecting such an appeal, Canada's police have been reluctant to arrest anyone claiming sanctuary. In some people's opinion, for the police to invade a church would be a breach of separation of church and state. So it would seem Comrade Lennikov has found the protection he needed.
Reading the story of the ex-spy seeking assistance, I wondered how often people forget God is their refuge. Because of the sacrifice the Savior made upon the cross and His glorious resurrection, we who believe have been afforded sanctuary and protection.
· Clinging to Christ, our sins are forgiven and Satan cannot accuse us.
· Remaining among the redeemed, Satan cannot demand we be deported to his kingdom.
· Trusting in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, death cannot claim us.
Now I don't know what will happen to Mikhail Lennikov who has placed his trust in a church to keep him physically safe, but I do know what will happen to all who believe on the Christ.
Like the Psalmist, they will be able to say, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, because of Your work, I have a new home, a new country, a family of faith. May I give thanks You are my refuge, help, and Savior. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries