When was the last time you ran to Christ? Was this morning in prayer? Last night? Last week? Last year? When was the last time you felt his strength, love, or peace? Is the Name of the Lord Your strong tower?
There was a time, when I felt so lost and so alone, that I would run the mile and half from my house to my church and climb to the top of the slide tower at night. Breathless I would sit and be still in the only thing that gave me peace. The presence of God.
The parking lot was dark and the church was locked. I wanted God and this was as close as I knew how to come at the time. From my retreat tower I could see both my church and my pastor’s house. They lived in the parsonage next door back then. I always stayed in the tower and never knocked on either door.
If people knew what I was doing on those lonely and scary nights, they never let on. Which is a good thing I think. Because back then, if people had known exactly how scared and how out-of-place I truly felt, I don’t know how I would have reacted. I might have been too embarrassed to come back.
My first year in church as an adult was a year of uncertainty, hidden-ness and change. I was afraid of people, afraid of my self, and mostly afraid of God. I still thought God could only be found in the concrete and stone structure sitting at the end of that parking lot. I certainly didn’t feel him anywhere else and on days where I longed to be near him, I literally ran to him – or to at least the place I felt him last, my church.
It all sounds kind of silly now – running to a playground slide tower in the dark of night hoping to find God. But is it really? The Spirit knows what the mind cannot comprehend. Out of absolute broken need, I was led to a physical tower, nurtured and comforted there by God, until I learned what Scripture says in Proverbs 18:10. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”
Honestly, I didn’t know that passages then. I only knew that I was weary and heavy of heart. I needed safety, I needed rest. So, I came, I ran, I drew as near as I possibly could under the cover of darkness. Out of breath, hurting, and needing more than I even knew, I sought Him with everything I had and I didn’t realize the symbolism behind my actions. Somewhere in the stillness of the night, in my playground tower, his banner of love covered me in all my sadness, fears, insecurities and sins and gave me peace. He became my refuge, my strong tower against the foe. (Psalm 61:3) I ran to Him, and I was safe.
As I’ve grown in Him, I seem to have developed a me do it kind of attitude. Ever been there? I’ll take care of it God. Thanks anyway. I wonder what he thinks about that? In some ways today, in all of my knowledge and growth in Christ, I think I’ve forgotten how to be that young desperate women, hungry for God – literally running to HIM, to his tower, for strength and safety. I can’t help but wonder if he doesn’t miss her like I do. I no longer live a mile from my church, and besides the swing set with the tower is long gone. But that doesn’t mean I can’t run to him. He isn’t in the brick and mortar – or in the wind and waves of life. He is in you and in me through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We need only to call out his name – and know that we are safe.
Father God – Thank you for that young women, lost confused, and alone – who desperately sought you out in the only tower she knew to find. Thank you Lord for meeting me there. Forgive me for those times I’ve traded that tower for ones of my own making, and forget to run to you when darkness falls. Your name is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe. You are my strength and my refuge – and you Lord know my name. Amen.
Written by Deana O’Hara, 2008 For Redemption’s Heart.