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January 24, 2013

DEVOTIONAL: God is a fortress

"He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken" (Psalm 62:6).

Do you ever feel assaulted by life? Life is difficult. As human beings, we all experience physical challenges, emotional upsets financial tests and deep spiritual questions. Others willingly suffer persecution because of their readiness to take risks for Jesus. I have met many sisters and brothers who report that their hope is secure in Christ alone and that they experience spiritual security, exceptional peace and lasting significance He offers to those who fully trust in Him.

A few weeks ago, I traveled to India to meet with persecuted members of our "extended family." In Bangalore, I met a man who had almost all of his teeth knocked out in a vicious attack. In spite of intense personal suffering, he continues to boldly serve in an influential ministry. His wife shared that even though she is sometimes scared when he travels to minister in dangerous places, she is learning to trust in God. In Psalm 62, David was learning how to trust as well. He refers to God as his "fortress" twice, as a "rock" three times and as his "refuge." Clearly, David believed that God would be there for him in the midst of the assaults he faced.

Elephant Gate
A part of the "Elephant Gate" at Agra Fortress in India.

I was reminded of this Psalm when our team visited Agra Fortress, a few hours south of Delhi. It was overwhelming to walk through the massive "elephant gate." To get to the heart of this amazing fortress, you must cross two moats. When the fortress was built, the outer moat was filled with water; the inner moat was filled with tigers. As you cross a giant drawbridge, you encounter an inner gateway called Hathi Pol, the "Elephant Gate." This gate was specifically engineered to defend against attackers using elephants to crush the gates of a fort during a siege. The drawbridge, slight ascent, and 90-degree turn between the outer and inner gates made the entrance impregnable by preventing the elephants from gathering enough speed to crush the gates.

David is remembered as a warrior, but he is also remembered for the deep intimacy he shared with our Father, as reflected in so many Psalms. One of the essential elements of this deep intimacy was his absolute reliance and rest in the Lord. David felt free to go to the Father, to openly share his most personal struggles, to process his pain and to receive healing and hope from his "fortress" God, Who is able to withstand any assault. Agra_Fortress 

Martin Luther expressed this shared hope beautifully in one of the Church's most beloved hymns, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." Throughout Christian history, millions of other followers have run to God to find spiritual security, exceptional peace and lasting significance. "Resting" in Him is like placing your soul in an impregnable fortress, so place your trust in Him alone today!

Dr. Jason Peters serves in VOM's International Ministries department, traveling frequently to meet with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. He lived overseas for five years and has ministered in 28 countries as diverse as Cuba, Nepal, Iraq and Indonesia. He and his wife, Kimberly, along with their five children, count it a great honor to serve with the persecuted church.

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