Building and maintaining healthy family relationships might be the hardest job I’ve ever had, but I’ll never regret taking it on.
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1 NIV).
When I approached the scene of an accident near Junction City several years ago, I heard an elderly woman moaning in the front seat of a seriously damaged car. Her head was bleeding, apparently from hitting the windshield. Though I wasn’t sure she could hear me, I tried to bring her comfort by telling her help was on the way. She rolled her graying head to the side and called out “Mama.”
In her personal disaster it was that comforting relationship she longed for.
Another proverb from this chapter tells me that working hard on anything has value, including my relationships.
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (verse 23).
Building strong relationships isn’t just a lot of talk, and love is more than just words. As a mom I work so that the souls of my children can trust there will always be a safe place for them, even after I’m gone.
“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge” (verse 26).
I’ve never known how it feels to be one of our foster children, heartbroken because of separation from their birth families and living with people who don’t feel their brokenness the way they do. But right now, in the struggles I’m dealing with today, I need a place of refuge. I need a safe place to hide. I need to be held by someone who understands me. And I know where to go.
“The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:7-10 NIV).
The points are simple:
1. The Lord reigns. He’s the boss.
2. The Lord is the judge and he governs with justice. He makes things right.
3. The Lord is my refuge when I’m oppressed. He’s my protective Father.
4. The Lord is my stronghold in trouble. His is power beyond measure.
5. The Lord has never forsaken someone who is seeking him.
My response is “Lord, I trust you. I know your Name, and I trust you.”
I found something I hadn’t thought about before in a prayer for help. This is from Psalm 7.
“O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me. O Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands–if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me or without cause have robbed my foe–then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust. Selah” (Psalm 7:1-5 NIV).
Simply put, the psalmist asks God to save and deliver him, then in the heat of encroaching violence with his life at stake he tells God “If I’m guilty of doing evil to my enemy without cause, let him take my life.”
Amazing. How can someone have the kind of confidence that claims he’s free of guilt but if he’s wrong he’s okay with God letting the bad guy take his life?
I think the answer is hinted at in the last verse of this chapter.
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High” (verse 17).
It looks to me like he’s put his confidence in God’s righteousness.