Pillow Forts

God is our refuge and strength,

    an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,

    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;

though its waters roar and foam,

    though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

    the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;

    God will help it when the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;

    he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

    the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;

    see what desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

    he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;

    he burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God!

    I am exalted among the nations,

    I am exalted in the earth.”

The Lord of hosts is with us;

    the God of Jacob is our refuge.

-Psalm 46


When I was a kid, I absolutely loved to build pillow forts. My family had a couch with extremely firm, square cushions perfectly suited to constructing a kid-sized refuge. With an assortment of blankets, clothespins, pillows, chairs, and cushions, my brother and I would construct elaborate fortresses. We would then retreat deep into the pillow fort with snacks and books, safe and secure. 

Secure, that is, until an over-extended blanket pulled loose of its clothespin, sending the entire fort collapsing down on us. Undeterred, we would reassemble the precarious fort over and over until our parents finally insisted that they needed the living room back. You see, we could build forts with all the enthusiasm and expertise of, well, children. We did our best, but pillow forts are no match for gravity.

Like children building pillow forts, adults often build up refuges that feel good but don’t actually hold up against the storms of life. We look for security from other people, hoping they can keep us safe. We look for security from money, hoping that our savings accounts will protect us from trouble. We look for security from the groups we are part of, hoping that our loyalty to the crowd will keep us from harm. We look for security from our own strength, hoping that we can handle any threat that comes our way. We look for security from knowledge, hoping we can outsmart our problems.

These are all pillow forts. They might be fun for a while. They look cool. We can even prop them up when they start to falter. They might withstand a few gusts of wind. In the end, they always topple. 

God is no pillow fort. God is your refuge, safe and secure. God is your refuge when tornadoes or derechos blow. God is your refuge when sickness or sadness loom. God is your refuge when strength fails, when people abandon you, when money runs out, when wisdom turns out foolish. God is your refuge when all other refuges collapse.

God is your refuge.