FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, May 25, 2019
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UK
THE LORD AS A REFUGE

efuge, is a sanctuary in time of trouble or distress and, it is invaluable. It is the place to go, when our safety and certainties are threatened. It provides safety from the danger, succour in times of hardship and distress and opportunity to recover, think, plan and overcome.

However, a refuge does not fight or end one's trouble. It is a means to an end and not the end itself. Yes, the Lord may be our refuge, but the Lord, will not raise and train the army that will confront those who trouble us. When we run to the Lord, grasses do not fight for you.

The Lord will not think for us or tell us what to do, but the wisdom his words inspire can be very useful. The light of his words, will only illuminate our way, but will not tell us where to go or the road to take. We need our map of where we want to go. It is still up to us to decide, what to do in any circumstance we find ourselves. Trusting in the Lord with all our heart and leaning not in our own understanding, and believing in his words, do not relieve us of the responsibility to use our reason, knowledge, intelligence and resources to find the best human solution to our problems.

It is important for us to gain correct conceptual understanding of who the Lord is, what the Lord can do and His role in our lives, especially in crisis. Lack of this understanding is the reason why many in Nigeria fall preys to pastors, general overseers and charlatans, who masquerade as men of God.

When everything seems to be against us, nothing we touch seems to move and our enemies sense victory, the Lord provides the safe place to stay and plan how to confront the danger. Our refuge provides comforting words, and historical examples of people, who have faced similar crisis. These encourages us to overcome.

However, it is still up to us to identify how the difference in our circumstance should alter what worked in the past and use new understanding to confront old problems in new circumstance. This is what many believers lack in understanding and applying the scripture.

Those who run to their refuge and do nothing about the danger will live perpetually as refugees and in fear of the whatever threatens them. While in the refuge, one must develop capacity to resist or overcome the enemy or obstacle.

Those who run to the Lord, and stop thinking and not use knowledge and reason to find solution to the problems that drove them to the Lord, will live in fear and be exploited as refugees.

The lord is a refuge for us to use to plan and prepare to confront that which threatens us.

Some people read, the Lord is a refuge for the oppressed and think it is the end of the problem. They think that going to church to fast and pray will magically provide solution to their problem through a miracle.

They believe that the solution to problems that threatens them is to run to the Lord, pour out their hearts in prayer and expect him to intervene in miraculous way because they have prayed. They interpreted everything, including chance occurrences as answered prayer. This is magical thinking and nothing could be more false, ignorant and illogical.

Finding refuge in the Lord is the beginning, the first step in the response to trouble. When someone threatens you and you run to a place of refuge and never come back to reclaim what belongs to you, you are the loser in a refugee camp.

Therefore, it is up to you, how you use your refuge, either to forget about who you are, or prepare to confront the person who threaten you. You can give up old dreams, which have become nightmares in a refuge and dream new dream, which you can turn into reality. You can also decide to persist with old dreams and do all it takes to make it a realty. The choice is always ours' even when we find refuge in the Lord.

Yes, the lord is our refuge, but it is up to us how we use the refuge. Some people spend all their lives in a refuge, others may move on, while some go back home. Non of these would be possible without the refuge. The refuge is the enabler.

It is your choice, how you use the refuge the Lord provides in time of trouble. The Lord is our refuge, a present help in time of trouble and what can be better than a refuge in time of trouble.

Do not become the Lord's refugee, but the person who puts the refuge the Lord gives to good use to overcome the trouble and the go home. A refuge, is not your home.

Many believers quote texts like 'Jeremiah 17:5 ‘Those who put their trust in God will never be disappointed’ and Psalm 23:2 ‘I will give you rest in green pastures and lead you to still waters' and believe that mere believing these words and ascribing them to themselves, even though it was not said to them and has nothing to do with them, will automatically bring about a positive change of circumstances. I used to think like that until I studied psychiatry and realised it is called magical thinking and can be a feature of mental illness.

My people are indeed destroyed for lack of knowledge. Some have allowed scriptural literalism to limit their ability for autonomous thought and use of reason to understanding reality. While it is good to trust in the Lord, it is right, reasonable and wise to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

Salvation does not only mean salvation from sin, it also means salvation from the troubles that drove you to the refuge of the Lord. It include deliverance from ignorance, poverty and propensity for the wrong thing and abuse of one’s power. If poverty drove you to the Lord, you should learn how to make money. If sickness drove to the Lord, you should learn how to live a healthy life, prevent disease and find the right cure for what troubles you. This is the way of the Lord.

In my understanding, God helps those who help themselves by using available knowledge aright. God in the history of man, has never done for man, what he has given enough knowledge for man to do for himself. He is aware, that man has enough knowledge and intelligence to solve all his problems, if he will use knowledge only for good, reason aright, Pursue peace, eschew greed, conquer pride, embrace honesty and practice love without dissimulation.

This is what He told me the last He took my call. Religion is not meant to be smoked like opium as we are currently doing in Nigeria. Running to a refugee camp does not mean that your problem is over. Sleeping in the church does not cure cancer. Faith only moves mountain if it helps you get earth moving equipment. Faith without work is dead. Do not allow men to exploit you with the word of God. True knowledge and understanding of God is empowering and freeing. Indeed, the truth shall set you free to use your reason aright.

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