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Finding Sabbath Rest: Stop Going To War – Live Inside The Castle

December 13, 2014

Our footsteps echoed in empty, roofless rooms and across ancient, 12th century stones arranged in patterns and held together by grass roots that went deep, deep, deep into the Welsh soil.

IMG_7518Chepstow Castle, Chepstow, Wales

While the wind whipped little wispy clouds across the sky, cheeks flushed red with brisk air and the thrill of being in Chepstow, Wales.

In the ramparts of a bona fide Norman castle, built circa 1190(ish) and now housing only a few birds and memories, our voices in their distinctly American accents seemed an odd contrast.

The stones were feet thick in many places, curving around towers, formed into turrets, fireplace hearths, and walkways grown silent long ago. While standing in rooms intended for the king, three levels tall with massive beams crisscrossing the rounded space, I wondered,

“What does it mean to live within a fortress?“

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While being attacked on any or all sides, beating a fast retreat behind sturdy walls with tiny cross-shaped look out windows seems to be a wise choice. One hundred thousand Normans couldn’t be wrong, right?

It’s funny how; in our take-charge world and self-empowerment frenzy, we have lost sight of the wisdom of retreating to a safe place.   All too often, we hold onto the belief in which all the battles must be fought up close and personal. Marching out onto the battlefield, we sacrifice any hope of safety or thoughtfulness in a last-ditch effort to somehow come out above the fray victorious.

Sadly, more often than not, we return from the field broken, wounded, and fearful.

The walls rise an easy 100 feet into the air with walls on top of walls and walkways within stone corridors.   The guard tower at one far end of a complex of great halls and pantry rooms serves as a reminder that once many people lived here, worked here, made big decisions here.

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I don’t have access to the sturdy walls of Chepstow or the heavy wooden drawbridge at Caldicot.   When accusations fly and gauntlets are thrown, I don’t get to run and hide in the guard tower.

DSC_4028Chepstow Castle, Photo Credit: Isaac Stone, www.internationalbrofari.com

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No, I have a far better refuge and those defenses are impregnable for my stronghold, my refuge, my fortress is within Adonai Himself.

Adonai is my Rock, my fortress and deliverer,
my God, my Rock, in whom I find shelter,
my shield, the power that saves me,
my stronghold.

Psalm 18:2-3 CJB

Giving His children shelter from the war that wages, He provides all that is necessary for our security and graciously offers us the space to thoughtfully plan a response to the battles always close at hand.

When we choose to run into His shelter and behind His shield instead of racing off to do battle in moments of weakness and emotional chaos the arrows of accusation and betrayal, the trebouchet of turmoil, and the catapults of criticism hit only massive stones.

DSC_4056Chepstow Castle, Photo Credit: Isaac Stone, www.internationalbrofari.com

It’s a busy, stressful time of year.

I know where I’m headed.

DSC_4016Chepstow Castle, Photo Credit: Isaac Stone, www.internationalbrofari.com

Leaning on Him,

Heidi