Your safe room is a refuge when life's troubles close in

A safe room is a special place many rich people build into their homes.

It's often hidden and has an indestructible door. Its purpose is simple: a place to hide in case of an attack. At the first sign of home invaders, the entire family would run to this hiding place, lock the door, and call the police.

We singles need a safe room too, but not the kind built by carpenters. We need the fortress of God.

Like me, you may get stressed out. The demands of the world can be overwhelming at times, and if you pay too much attention to the Internet and news media, it's easy to slip into anxiety.

A safe room is the solution. David figured it out 3,000 years ago. Let's see what he can teach us singles.

A safe room is a modern stronghold

When jealous King Saul was chasing David across Israel trying to kill him, David and his men retreated to a place in the wilderness called the stronghold. The Bible doesn't give us much detail about this hiding place, but we can infer a few things.

First, it was strategically placed, a kind of natural fort. Second, it provided a secure haven from attacks. And third, it was symbolic of the protection of God.

That third part is the most important to us. We singles get so caught up in our troubles we mistakenly think we're facing them all alone. We're not. Believers need to remember God is for us, fighting on our side.

David put it this way:

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2, NIV)

While a safe room is a fixed place within a house, the kind of shelter singles need is found in God. No matter where you go, he is with you, a constant place to retreat to in times of trouble.

God dwelling in you; you dwelling in God

Every baptized believer is indwelt (inhabited) by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised to send the Holy Spirit to live within all his followers for comfort, strength, and guidance.

But our special relationship with God is a double gift, a second that is equally important. God lives within us, but we can also live within God. That's what David was talking about.

We singles need to learn to take refuge in God as David did, because there's no safer place to be. Think about it. God is in control of everything. He is invincible; nothing can defeat him. No problem threatens him. Nothing is impossible for him to handle.

What's more, God is the only place we can find guaranteed peace. Stress is unknown to him. His character is always calm and relaxed. Within him is perfect rest.

When life gets too frantic for you, you can withdraw into God. Listen to these familiar words from the 23rd Psalm:

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

Isn't that reassuring? If there's one thing we need in this crazy world, it's to have our soul restored. Only God can do that, nothing else. And that's the problem.

When we get stressed out, we go to food, television, alcohol, the Internet, bad habits, our friends, everywhere BUT God. How wrong is that? You would think we'd finally learn from experience that none of that works.

Our safe room, our healing place is in God.

Great, you're saying. But how do I get there?

How to take refuge in God

When God offers help, he doesn't make it mysterious or complicated. He doesn't want us stumbling around, trying to figure things out. To make God your safe room, simply approach him in faith. He is a loving father whose heart is always open to you. Here are four ways to enter into God's presence:

1. Get in God's Word and get his Word in you.

The Bible is the least-applied tool God has given us. Millions of people own one. Far fewer dive into it for God's protection. If you have a study Bible, it may have a concordance in the back, an alphabetical list of words that points you to verses containing those words. For example, you can find all the verses that contain "love," or "help" or "fortress." The Psalms are a source of great serenity. One of my favorite reassuring passages is chapter 14 in the gospel of John. 

The Bible is a living book because as you read it, God works in you. He knows your need, restoring your soul through his words. Whenever you read the Bible with an open heart, you are dwelling in God. He takes you in. He wraps his arms around you and gives you his strength to face life.

2. Pray and meditate.

We enter into God's rest when we pray. But too often our prayers are panicky, demanding that God answer them immediately, our way! I learned through hard experience that God is wiser than me. He always knows best, even when it doesn't feel that way. You can trust him to do right by you. In the short term, his answer may be painful, but God's plans are always perfect because he is perfect. He never makes a mistake. When you acknowledge God's right to answer in his way, in his timing, it will take much of the fear out of your praying.

Jesus taught us to call God "Father" or "Abba," an Aramaic word for "Daddy." When I was a little boy, I used to climb up on my Dad's lap when he sat in his recliner. Picture doing that with your heavenly Father. Now there's safety!

3. Go to church.

Worshipping God in church is one of my favorite ways to get a break from the cares of life. It's an effective safe room, if only for an hour. God loves sincere worship and is pleased with our praise. I believe every Christian should attend church services regularly. Besides 

hearing an encouraging sermon, you'll be able to participate in the Lord's Supper, which gives strength while cleansing away sin.

When your mind is focused on God in church, he puts your problems in the proper perspective. You see things from an eternal viewpoint. The Bible says when people gather together for worship, God is in their midst.

4. Surrender your situation and life to God.

Nothing brings a sense of relief like surrendering to God. You simply can't live the Christian life on your own. It's too hard. But we have the privilege of letting Jesus live his life through us. When you surrender your life to him, it takes the burden off you and puts it on him. Believe me, he can more than handle it. 

You'll find amazing peace when you live in Jesus and let him completely live in you. This is the safe room we're all looking for. It brings the confidence that no matter what happens, things are going to turn out all right in the end, because Jesus loves you. He can be trusted. Surrender to God and you'll find a place of safety for the hardest days of your life. 

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