His little retreat, his shrine and his idol

(James Alexander, "Consolation" 1852)

"In this world you will have trouble." John 16:33

"You are my fortress, my refuge in times of
 trouble!" Psalm 59:16

The heart knows its own bitterness; and sometimes
the sharpest arrow is rankling just where others
cannot perceive it. Many are the afflictions of the
—some of the sorest are not cataloged
in books, or rehearsed in sermons.

Times of trouble have not ceased from our world.
In such times, we need some refuge, stronghold
and solace.

The hiding-places of men are discovered by
Ungodly men, being afraid of God, and
feeling that they are at enmity with Him, go any
where else for solace in affliction. Some turn to
worldly business, and buy and sell with redoubled
activity; some count up the idols that remain, and
plan new enterprises; some go into vain company,
read vain books, or flutter through the dance of
superfluous amusements; some have been known
to enter the sty of drunkenness.

Troubles drive each one to his refuge. Each has
his little retreat, his shrine and his idol
which he seeks at such times.

And the child of God has his refuge—and runs into
it in times of trouble! Above the raging of the floods,
when all around is alarm, he hears the voice, as of a
trumpet, saying from the refuge—"Come, My people,
enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed
by." And emerging from the waves, he responds, "Be
merciful to me, O God, be merciful, because I come to
You for safety. In the shadow of Your wings I find
protection until the raging storms are over!" "When
my heart is overwhelmed within me, lead me to the
Rock that is higher than I." "God is our refuge and
strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.
That is why we are not afraid even when the earth
quakes or the mountains topple into the depths of
the sea! The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of
Jacob is our refuge!" "You are my hiding place!"
Here is a refuge—to which believers actually resort
in times of trouble.

To the believer, God is not merely a retreat—but an
abode; not a refuge just found out when trouble
surprises—but a habitation to which he has learned
continually to resort; not a temporary shelter—but
a stronghold, where he dwells, and where he loves
to dwell.