I am not talking about “Sanctuary” the sci-fi TV show. I do not have in mind a church where fugitives formerly could not be arrested. I mean to ask if you need a place of refuge where you feel safe from the problems, stress, and dangers in life that sometimes seem to claw deep into your soul. You cannot sleep. The future seems uncertain. Do you need a refuge that also is a sanctuary, i.e. a place where the presence of God dwells?
CeCe Winans sings in “The Presence of the Lord”, “In His presence there is love. In His presence there is power. In His presence there is peace. In His presence there is healing. In His presence there is joy, In His presence there is hope. The presence of the Lord is here.” Is that a place you want to locate?
King David, the ancient king of Israel and progenitor of Jesus, lived a life of great glory and great distress. His wife mocked him, his son dethroned him, his best friend’s father tried to kill him, and he made decisions that cost the lives of thousands of people God called him to protect and provide for. In the midst of his angst he told his people to trust and have full confidence in God at all times. From his own experience he counseled others to “pour out your heart” to God. Give full expression to what you are thinking and feeling because “God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62).
Anyplace can become a sanctuary. However, entering that place is made easier when it is a special place. A place made special because it is a place and a time set aside for meeting with God.
John Wesley’s mother, Susanna, had nineteen children. Her sacred space at home was not a corner or in front of a window with a special wall hanging and candles waiting to be lit on an occasional table as some are able to create today. She trained her children when she put her apron over her head not to interrupt. They knew their mother was meeting with God, often on their behalf. Behind the veil of her kitchen apron because Susanna’s refuge where the presence of the Lord washed over her with peace, healing, joy and hope. After meeting with God, Susanna was better equipped to lead and meet the needs of her family.
Our heavenly Father not only loves us, but wants to love others through us. Maybe it’s time for a remake of Frank Capra’s beloved 1946 film, It’s a Wonderful Life — only this time, with the main character being not a banker, but a minister. Clarence, the clumsy but well-meaning angel, would escort the Rev. George Bailey not to an imaginary Bedford Falls bereft of a savings-and-loan, but one without a single church.
What would it be like to live in such a community? Would there be the same levels of volunteerism, of civility, of simple human kindness?
What would happen to the teenager who’s been finding refuge from his abusive family in the church’s youth group? Or the divorced single mother who discovered that her volunteer experience as a Sunday School teacher helped her find employment as a teacher’s aide in the local school? Or the potential suicide whose life was changed after sitting down with the pastor in Starbucks for a cup of coffee and a heart-to-heart chat? Our churches are worth more than we could ever imagine.
Meet with God and help create a place where others can meet together in His presence, also. It is what the Lord wants for Himself and you.