After living in fight/flight/freeze mode for most of my life, I find it necessary to reset my default time and time again. I do that by reminding myself I am not that person anymore. Remembering one’s training amidst hard times is what “soldiers” are supposed to do. Lately, I have recalled several lessons from the past. One of those lessons is the difference between a fortress and a prison.
Prison or Fortress
If given a choice which would you choose? Of course, the answer is clear. The key is knowing the difference between the two.
Prison: A state of confinement or captivity
In the past, I learned when inside a spiritual prison, it is hard to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and to focus on God’s Word. Worry, doubt, and fear seek to chain us, never to be free again. Rather than forge ahead in strength and confidence, we’re unable to move.
But there is hope.
In Romans 15, Paul tells his listeners that God is a God of patience, comfort, hope, and peace. I’m sure we could use all four in our lives, so let us run to the Lord, who can supply our needs.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13).
Fortress: A fortified place, a strong hold, castle or citadel
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him (Nahum 1:7).
During wartime, townsfolk gathered behind castle walls or inside the castle itself, and remained there until the threat was over.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust (Psalm 91:1-2).
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee (Psalm 56:3).
When we “dwell” in the secret place, we can hear the Shepherd’s voice. We are not afraid because we dwell in safety and know His peace. Are you dwelling—sitting in the secret place? Trusting in Him?
The Word of God and Prayer
The Scriptures help us to know the truth. When we dwell on His Word, we will have peace. Why worry when we can bring all our cares to Him. Dig into the Word. Memorize it. Pray it. And watch what God will do!
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).
Songs, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you are aware music is woven into the fabric of my being. I live, breathe, and dream about it. Whether worship, praise, testimonial, or hymns, each has helped me through the storms of life.
Recently, a friend shared “He Will Hold Me Fast” on her timeline. After listening to it for the first time, I went in search of the story that would inspire someone to write such a compelling assurance for the listener. Here’s what I found.
Robert Harkness, R. A. Torrey’s pianist, tells the story of a convert who feared he could never hold on to his new-found faith. After listening to the young man’s concern, Harkness wrote a letter to lyricist Ada R. Habershon requesting she write songs of assurance for believers.
Months later, Harkness received the songs during a campaign in Philadelphia. Rather than listening to Torrey’s afternoon sermon, he set the words to music. That evening, the song leader Charles M. Alexander introduced He Will Hold Me Fast to 4000 people. Since then, the song has been translated into many languages.
“Walking through a difficult personal season of doubt and uncertainty,” Matt Merker wrote another verse and tune for the song (I love it). He introduced the new version to Capitol Hill Baptist Church in 2013. The video contains that version.
But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more (Psalm 71:14).
Many of us are facing our own struggles during this time of uncertainty. I’d like to take this time and encourage you to remember the promises of God. Remember, through the finished work of the cross, justice was satisfied, grace was extended, and mercy was given. We are NOT parolees still doing time, but children of light. We have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated to the kingdom of Christ. We are precious in His sight. He’ll not let our souls be lost. He holds us fast.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen (Jude 1: 24-25).