Matt CoxWhen I was a kid, I remember watching an old black and white movie about the hunchback of Notre Dame. While the movie was a little unsettling to me, I do remember being introduced to a term that I had not understood before. The word was “Sanctuary”. It means a place of refuge and safety. There are many ways that we seek refuge in this world, but God’s Word makes clear that He is the only true Sanctuary. Psalm 91 refers to God as our Refuge and Fortress where we can place our trust. Recently I’ve been meditating on Psalm 63 which displays a beautiful picture of David’s relationship with God even during a time of trial. There are so many things that stand out to me in this passage, but one that always catches my attention is Psalm 63:7, “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadows of thy wings will I rejoice.” The beautiful imagery of being hidden under God’s wing is found throughout Scripture. Wings are often used to depict strength or swiftness, but in Ps. 63 they are a picture of refuge.

When I was 8 years old, my dad became a pastor and we moved from New Jersey to Virginia. The gracious folks from our new church gave me pair of chickens; a rooster and a hen which I named Henry and Henrietta. It wasn’t long until Henrietta had hatched out her first clutch of eggs. It was fun to see the dynamic of the relationship between the hen and her chicks. Neighborhood crows would often watch for opportunities to steal away the fluffy little babies. Each time a threat of any kind would appear, Henrietta would call and the chicks would hide under her body which she would fluff up and make appear twice its size. One day, I noticed a crow show up. When Henrietta sounded the alarm all the chicks but one quickly scrambled for their mother. That chick tried to hide itself in the tall grass but was subsequently snatched by the crow. Henrietta immediately flew into action, attacking the crow and causing it to release the baby. The chick had thought itself safe in the tall grass, but this refuge was no replacement for its mother. Real security was only found under the mother hen’s wings.

I have prayed before that God would provide me with a refuge instead of realizing that He IS the refuge. How tempting it can be to “lean on my own understanding” and place my confidence in a poor surrogate of a sanctuary. My attempts to create a refuge can never match the unchanging place of refuge I can find in God. I am glad that we as a ministry are able to provide a “safe” place of retreat and refreshment; but more importantly, I’m so excited for the opportunities to point to God as the living and powerful Refuge. He is exactly what Psalm 46 says, “Our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Summer Camp saw over 1,100 youth participate with 70 decisions to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Our retreats, including our family camps, have been very well attended. We also had a wonderful summer staff and volunteer crew this summer to join us in the ministry. It is our prayer that every person who comes here, staff or attendee, learns to find refuge in the only place it can be found regardless of our surroundings and circumstances. This refuge is only found in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and in the shelter of His wings.

– Matt Cox