When we were children, a good hiding place could keep us occupied for hours. Even small children love the idea of making a little tent by draping a bedsheet over a couple of dining room chairs. It was good to feel safe and protected from imaginary forces lurking about, seeking to find our secret lair.
Fast forward a few years and discover that, buried deeply within, our longing for a secret hide-away is still a pleasant thought that occasionally comes to the surface, especially in difficult times. With childlike trust, we seek refuge in the loving arms of our refuge and fortress, the God in whom we trust (Ps. 91:1-2). The outside forces are no longer imaginary as they once might have been in our childhood. But, in the shelter of His presence, there is sweet rest from the worries and cares which threaten to undo us (Ps. 31:19-20; Ph. 4:6-7).
The inspired psalmist picks up on this precious theme, praying, “Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance” (Ps. 32:6-7).
In 1776, while walking along the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills of England, Augustus Toplady was caught in a storm. Finding refuge in a gap along the rocky ridge, he scribbled down the initial words of what would become a timeless Christian hymn. “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee….” Of those penned by mortal man, few words have buoyed the spirits of wearied and troubled disciples as have these words. David sums it up in eight powerful words: “You are my hiding place and my shield…” (Ps. 119:114).