Place of refuge

Recently when I was out for a walk I saw a caterpillar (it’s a lime hawk moth if you are interested) inching its way along the road and quite oblivious to the fact it could get squashed by a passing vehicle at any moment. So I decided to do my bit for nature and put it somewhere safe. That caterpillar did not want any of it and squirmed and wriggled like crazy and the fact it had a blue prong on its back-end gave me a good enough reason to exercise caution. So I prodded it to a place of refuge with a stick – despite further protestations. Hopefully, in due time it will become a moth and continue the cycle of its species.

It was only after I had done this that God prompted me to think about some of the events of recent times. I imagine that I am not the only one this has happened to but let’s use the caterpillar as an illustration.

From time to time we are merrily going on with our lives, without the slightest idea of the danger we are in. You could be in a toxic relationship, work environment or even church. The thing is I have been in all three of these and got really comfortable within such a terrible situation and did not want to move out. Looking back at it now it seems quite perverse that I didn’t. 

So God intervened in the situation, coming along and moving me out. Guess what I did, just like the caterpillar I kicked, screamed and generally lost it on so many different levels. I even got to the point where I did something which now seems comedic in the extreme by telling God I didn’t believe he existed – what a contradiction!

What did I do once I was out of that situation? I had a really good long sulk – just like any other bloke would. 

What did the caterpillar do after I moved it to safety? Well, I am certainly not on its Christmas card list as it just curled up and played dead. 

This in turn made me think about what the children of Israel did as soon as they were out of Egypt? They kicked off, moaning that they were better off under the lash of Pharaoh’s whip! We look back at that now and think what on earth were they thinking when they said we were better off in Egypt. However, we have the advantage of being at the other end of history and we know how it all turned out as God was faithful to what He had promised them.

Yes, I have been guilty of doing the same, each time I look back with regret and anger at what happened I too have my own ‘I was better off in Egypt’ moments and I am probably not the only one who has done this. God has/had taken me out of that situation(s) because it was harmful to me and like the caterpillar put me in a place of refuge despite my initial thoughts and actions and the fact there are days when I find myself slipping back into those unhelpful ways of thinking. 

Hopefully that caterpillar will in due time find a safe place to make itself a chrysalis and emerge as a Lime Hawk Moth. For myself, God has certainly rescued me from a toxic and damaging environment and put me in a place of safety for the time being. I in turn have complained about it – for which I have asked God for forgiveness. He, in turn, I believe, has promised something better when He knows the time is right – what that will look like I have no idea. For the time being though I am holding onto all the words of Psalm 91 which speaks in such eloquent terms of Gods promise of safety and protection for this season. I now know that fighting it will only prolong matters.

Image Credit: Erik Karits via Unsplash