The not-yet-king David was holed up in a cave, seeking to evade Saul and his men … he cries out to the LORD:
Look to the right and see:
there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for my soul.
I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, ‘You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living. (Psalm 142:4-5)
David, with a keen sense of being alone even as he is hiding among his band of men, cries out to the LORD, “You are my refuge.”
Christ is alone in Gethsemane – to the right, no one is there. His closest disciples and friends are asleep. But He continues to entrust Himself to the Father. “You are my refuge.”
Richard Baxter, the Puritan preacher, speaks of conversion as follows:
“Conversion is another kind of work than most are aware of. It is not a small matter to bring an earthly mind to heaven and to show man the amiable excellencies of God, till he be taken up in such love to him that can never be quenched: to break the heart for sin, and make him flee for refuge unto Christ, and thankfully embrace him as the life of his soul; to have the very drift and bent of his life to be changed; so that a man renounceth that which he took for his felicity, and placeth his felicity where he never did before.”
To talk of conversion as Baxter does … “It is not a small matter …” reminds us of the truth that our salvation comes at great cost to Christ and to flee to Christ for refuge does not come naturally. It is “another kind of work”, cave work. The Spirit-work of delivering a man or woman or child out of darkness and into the Kingdom which is to be their refuge, Christ’s Kingdom.
Cave work. In the darkness of being alone, in the darkness of an imprisoned heart of sin, in the darkness of the inevitability of death … who is your refuge? Caves lead to cries. And those cries are either of despair, fear, and/or anger OR they are cries to the LORD, “You are my refuge”, cries of trust, knowing that the LORD will “Bring me out of prison … for you will deal bountifully with me.” (Psalm 142:7). The LORD is all about cave work. So when you have a keen sense of being alone in the midst of a sea of people, when you are made acutely aware of your sins, when you are tempted to despair, remember to cry out to the LORD, knowing that He will deal bountifully with You and not leave you in the cave, but will draw You to Himself and show You again that He is Your portion, now and forever.