When I think of the places I have hopped off a plane to experience Erice, Italy is by far the most awe inspiring. It’s streets and villages are full of culture and richness. The food, the atmosphere, the vibrancy – it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. But what really took my breath away the most, beyond all other things, were the castles.

To date, the Norman Castle is the highest point I have ever been – the views are worth the climb. On my way up I thought to myself about the structure, the reason and the necessity for castles. I thought of how amazing it is to see how fortified castles are. We see illustrations of kingdoms and castles in fairy tales and Disney animations and hear of how great kings and queens lived and ruled in them from our history books but nothing compares to being surrounded by one and engulfed by its presence.

Castles are vivid symbols of refuge and security. There are many people who battle with insecurity known or unbeknown to them, the first three verses from Psalm 46 explain boldly where out security lies, “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not be afraid, though the Earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil” (Psalms‬ 46:1-3‬ HCSB‬‬).

Our God is strong yet tender, we know from His word that He will always be there

Our Lord is a defender and is quick to protect His own. “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2 ESV). His barriers are impenetrable and just as David cries out, we are confident that He is mighty to save. Our God is strong yet tender, we know from His word that He will always be there. He provides a sanctuary where we are relieved of worry, stress and heavy burdens. “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4 NIV).

Just like the castles, our God is a solid rock, stable in all His ways and a firm foundation. With God on our side, our security is our eternal victory. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe” (Psalm 18:10). The question I want to pose to you today is simple, what is your refuge?