Wednesday, December 08, 2021

The Lord's holiness is a refuge for all, always

by CAROL SHIRK KNAPP Contributing Writer
| November 24, 2021 1:00 AM

It's Thanksgiving week. The heart wants to take a time-out and join with family — and think about food and football and fun. Set aside sorrows and stressors. And what happens? There is a parade — in Wisconsin — with the hometown crowd lining the streets. And then a hurtling SUV that shouldn't be there.

How many of us have attended or participated in a parade? I remember the downtown Christmas parade in Minneapolis. My husband sauntering down the street ahead of the start time wearing his “Elmer Fudd” hat, waving at the people — a parade of one. It was so ridiculous our family was laughing at his audacity, and at the same time turning red from more than the chill — thinking “I do not know this person.”

I can easily put myself at that mid-western Sunday afternoon parade. But not its aftermath. Nobody wants to be present there. As a grandma, hearing the Dancing Grannies group was one of the worst hit, I felt an extra gut punch.

One year in Alaska I opened “Time magazine and saw a photo I wish I'd never seen. The incident had happened in another country. I could not shake it. My go-to in a time of need like that is God. I found myself the next morning standing at the window seeking peace.

The winter sun was just showing above the mountains, spreading a golden glow across the snow. It was serene and beautiful. A chorus came to mind, “Holy, Holy.” It was as if the glow from outdoors cast itself over my heart.

Unspoken — but clear — I heard, “My holiness is a refuge. No evil can touch it.”

When I heard this — and understood I could go to the holiness of God for peace in the midst of trouble — my heart calmed. I could not undo what had taken place around the world from me. But I could know that God wasn't the cause of it.

When Jesus spoke of His adversary — known by names such as Satan, the devil, the ruler of this world, the thief — He said, “...he has nothing in Me.” God — and His holiness — is a safe place. To shelter there doesn't mean the horrors didn't happen — or that they can be forgotten. But it does mean I can be comforted.

Thanksgiving holds the presence of God — whom the Bible calls “giver of every good gift.” Those good gifts are all around us, and in us. They are the source of joy, and peace, and contentment.

What I understand in the beauty of God's holiness is that evil can't touch it. That God has set an end for evil. That in Christ He has conquered the destruction evil brings. And that His gift of eternal life has outrun evil.

I can celebrate Thanksgiving with a full and thankful heart, like the psalmist declares, “How great is Your goodness which You have stored up for those who fear (reverence) You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You.”

All my thanksgivings find a home in Him.