For a girl growing up on the edges of Tornado Alley (a narrow strip of America’s heartland especially prone to tornadoes), a tower is the last refuge I seek when the city’s warning sirens start blaring. At the first sign of a threat, I was told from a very young age to find the lowest spot–a basement, storm shelter, or the innermost, windowless, ground floor room of my house–and take cover. However, for the vulnerable in Proverbs 18, they weren’t looking for basements. Their eyes searched higher. Towers, set at the corners and gates of fortresses, provided line of sight and added strength and protection against hostiles. So for the wise man who penned the proverb, a tower was a perfectly reasonable refuge.
Although tornadoes are still a very real threat where I live, they are the least of my concern. I am more often faced with the opposing forces of sin (mine and others’), death, the world’s value system, and Satan. I need protection. Human beings need protection.
We know this innately. Psychology is replete with self-protection theories. It’s even how some persona types are categorized–according to our natural inclination to perceive threat and respond. Sadly, our best efforts to protect ourselves fail. We get hurt. We either push people away (and hurt in our loneliness) or we entangle our happiness with another’s (and get hurt when we’re disappointed). There truly is only one sure and safe Strong Tower. His name is the Lord.
He is the creator and sustainer of life.
He knows everything, beginning to end.
Nothing gets past Him.
He is good, loving, and kind.
He will not let injustice go unpunished.
He is sovereign.
We can recite these truths, but will we believe them when troubles assail us? When we’re falsely accused? When rejection feels like a banner over our heads? When we are treated unjustly? When the consequences of our sin find us? When we suffer loss?
I’ll be honest. My first inclination in these situations is to respond with self-protective schemes. I want to blame someone. I want judgment for them and mercy for me. I want to run away or at least find the nearest person who completely agrees with my perspective. This doesn’t look much like the “righteous (wo)man” who runs into a strong tower. But, what does she look like?
I am tempted to think she smooths things over–”no harm, no foul.” Or, she buries her head in the sand. Or, she stuffs the fear, anger, and disappointment so far down that she doesn’t realize she has wholly swallowed denial. That’s not what she does though. She isn’t righteous because she doesn’t struggle with fear. Instead, she recognizes a threat, sees her inability to protect herself, and runs straight into the arms of the Lord. She is righteous because she runs the right way–to God and not away from Him–when trouble is brewing. She sees her weakness and runs to strength.
You see, towers were set at the weakest points of a fortress.
That moment of weakness for you when threats and fears abound? He is right there. He’s always been there. Jesus set up His cross right where human weakness and His strength meet. He was exposed and vulnerable so that when we are exposed and vulnerable, we can run straight to His covering of grace. We can trust Him because He knows what it’s like to be us. We can trust Him because He is able to protect us. His protection might not be what we would prescribe; but as the good, loving, kind, all-wise, and sovereign God, we can trust His heart.
So when warning sirens fill ominous skies, we don’t go down into the earth; we look up and run with all our might to the Lord, our Strong Tower.
Lauren is a deep soul and is most comfortable in cowboy boots and out on a ranch with her husband and three kids. She effortlessly helps usher us into sacred spaces and allows us to know God more through her words and songs. Her debut book, Steadfast Love, was released in January 2016 and focuses on remembering and embracing God’s incredible, steadfast love for us, even when life is hard.