"In you, O LORD, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame…
You are indeed my rock and my fortress." - Psalm 71
When our adversaries come against us, they will try a number of tactics. Some we will recognize outright. Others they will implant quietly, almost secretly, so that we do not even notice their deleterious effects.
Our enemy's action is less important than its effects. Someone can hate, but if we feel enough strength and can contextualize their actions, it might not have any lasting effect on us.
But usually when we encounter someone's hatred – however overt, however covert – it stings. And that sting can last.
Some of us have bumped up against this kind of adversity from our earliest ages.
And the heartbreaking truth of this is that, when the sting feels…like home, something familiar that can resemble comfort, sometimes we can cling to the sting.
In you, O Lord, I seek your refuge…
But our enemies will want us to find our refuge in the pain they inflict instead.
Watch them. Watch them try to separate us from our ability to connect with God.
Notice their rhetoric. Observe how they draw distinctions between who can seek refuge in God and who cannot.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress.
But witness how they would prefer that shame were our rock, guilt our fortress.
And in so doing, they try to substitute despair for God.
Notice, today, when enemies are trying to take you off of the path of love and flourishing God has laid out before you. Notice and listen to the God who always will bring you back.
May I seek refuge in you first, God. Now and always. Amen
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City./div>