‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.’ – Psalm 18 v2From Toni Clark:
In early June we had a short family break in North Yorkshire. It was so lovely to be away with everyone and felt almost normal (apart from remembering to put masks on every time we moved anywhere!). We even had glorious weather! One morning we visited Helmsley Castle, of which whilst a ruin, there is enough left to really get a sense of what a fortress it once was.
You walk around the base of the earthworks to get to the entrance, with imposing walls up above you. To get into the castle you cross over a steep sided moat through the Barbican with its incredibly thick walls and then cross over a second deep moat before you pass through the inner walls to the fortress itself. The eastern tower stills stands imposing over the area, you catch glimpses of it from the town. It’s quite a sight. There is a medieval mansion house in the heart of the castle. I imagine whoever lived there felt quite safe surrounded by the fortress walls and moats! It was besieged during the English Civil War and after it surrendered many of the walls and buildings were destroyed, hence the ruin that is left today.
Being in the castle reminded me of this verse in Psalm 18: “The Lord is…..my fortress, my God…..in whom I take refuge……my stronghold”. Some Bible translations have “tower” instead of “stronghold”. I don’t know about you, but sometimes seeing something visually really helps bring Bible verses to life.
Standing in the castle grounds surrounded by its thick walls, deep moats and high tower you could really imagine what it would have been like when it wasn’t a ruin. Somewhere you could seek refuge from times of trouble, a place of safety – and that’s what God is. He is our stronghold – our place of safety when we feel anxious, worried or troubled. But unlike Helmsley Castle, He can never be destroyed, He will stand firm forever.
God is our refuge, we can always run to him knowing that he will protect us. Knowing that, having that certainty, that God will always be there, a fortress in which we take refuge and are kept safe, means that he should be the first place we run to when we are troubled or in difficulty. So if you are feeling anxious or troubled, seek refuge in the fortress that can never be destroyed – God.