SANC­TU­ARY

Safe in the arms of Je­sus, Safe on His gen­tle breast, There by His love o’er­shaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest.” — Fanny Crosby, 1868

Activated - - NEWS - By Koos Stenger Koos Stenger is a free­lance writer in the Nether­lands.

“The con­clu­sion”— the speaker said in a boom­ing voice—“is sim­ple. Thank God for the small things in life. Don’t look for the mil­lions, but be thank­ful for the cents.” Ev­ery­body ap­plauded.

The sem­i­nar was over. With my note­book full of hastily scrib­bled notes and two new self-help books on how to en­joy life, I left the meet­ing hall some­what be­wil­dered.

It had ac­tu­ally been a de­cent sem­i­nar, but I hadn’t heard any­thing new. The mes­sage—to en­joy the small things in life and to do so daily—is as old as the hills. How to do that re­mained a mys­tery even af­ter the sem­i­nar.

At the start of the year, my life was in sham­bles. Our bank ac­count was al­most empty and health trou­bles were loom­ing. And now, fear had found a com­fort­able rest­ing place in my daily med­i­ta­tions.

How could I be thank­ful for small bless­ings like a cup of hot tea un­der the win­ter sun, or the re­as­sur­ing purr of a cat on my lap, when I didn’t know how to sur­vive the next month? There wasn’t a mo­ment where the cares of this life weren’t be­sieg­ing me with their taunts and log­i­cal ex­pla­na­tions for why my life was a fail­ure and I wasn’t go­ing to make it. Sanc­tu­ary. I heard the word in my mind as clearly as if some­one had spo­ken it di­rectly to me. I needed sanc­tu­ary.

In the olden days, sanc­tu­ary re­ferred to a per­son’s right to pro­tec­tion within the walls of a con­se­crated church. As long as the per­son seek­ing shel­ter stayed within the con­fines of the church, their right to sanc­tu­ary was usu­ally re­spected. How did that ap­ply to me, though? I too was on the run. My fears were as real as the pur­suers of a mis­cre­ant in me­dieval times. Try­ing to hide from them was im­pos­si­ble. But there is a sanc­tu­ary. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The right­eous run to it and are safe.”

1 Safe! What a won­der­ful word. In the strong tower of Je­sus, I can find rest and strength. It’s where I can dis­cuss ev­ery­thing with the Sav­ior and He will show me how to deal with each prob­lem and fear.

What about all my trou­bles? Aren’t they still there?

Af­ter time in the sanc­tu­ary, their sting is gone. There’s noth­ing that Je­sus and I to­gether can­not han­dle. And the best part is, I can run back to the sanc­tu­ary as of­ten as nec­es­sary.

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