God is My Refuge

By Pastor Bob Rhoads

Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.  Psalm 16:1 NLT

My family and I began our travels to the south on July 14th.  I was thrilled to get out of town for a change so I can relax and enjoy the vacation time.  We arrived at the Children’s Harbor by Lake Martin in Alabama where the DEAFQUAKE camp took place.  It is the Christian camp for deaf children and hearing children who have deaf parents from age 8 to 19.  My daughter, Hope, was one of the campers there and I was the children’s pastor for the week.  I was having a blast with the children and with the deaf staff whom I’ve befriended over several years.

On Wednesday, things changed quickly in the afternoon.  I tested positive for COVID.  I had to be quarantined immediately and my wife Karen had to join me, even though she tested negative (but was exposed with me).  I only had one more message to give on Thursday morning.  I gave my message notes to another adult to help wrap it up - God knew what He was doing.  He was keeping me safe for the next few days.  I was put in a quarantined cabin near the lake.  The view of the lake was breath-taking, and I was able to have my personal time with the Lord there.

While at the camp, God was doing great things.  Eleven teens and eight children made the decision for Christ.  And out of the nineteen, three decided to be baptized.  Praise God.  On the last night of the camp, Hope won first place for memorizing all the Bible verses. I am proud of her.

By Friday morning, the camp was over, and everybody went home except Karen and me being stranded at this quarantined cabin by the lake.  It was that same morning that Karen tested positive.  Hope had to go home with our friends about an hour away and were allowed to stay until Sunday morning.  It was a very long weekend!  Karen and I spent a lot of time on the porch looking out on the lake day and night.  It was there we acknowledged that no matter where we are….away from home….God would keep us safe.  He is our refuge.  We were able to rest and sleep and stay quiet before the Lord.  Our time to recover continues.
By Sunday morning, we had to depart the camp.  Karen was not doing well, but we drove an hour and a half to be close to our daughter, although we could not reunite just yet.  I booked a hotel nearby so we could continue our recovery and get back to our vacation, Lord willing.
I admit it was different trying to recover in an unknown place, but if I put my trust in the Lord, He will keep me, Karen and Hope safe.  We facetimed several times to give word of encouragement and Karen was the one whom God spoke this verse to encourage Hope that you are in a safe place if you trust God.  I believe many of you know when David wrote that first verse, he was trusting God, no matter where he was…. being away from home because of his many enemies….God was with him.  Karen and I agreed that it would be better to recover in the comforts of a home.  But God is our home, and we are in a safe place.

To wrap up, I have recovered, and I am regaining strength.  Karen is still recovering, and we hope to be reunited with our daughter soon.  Please continue to pray for us during our travels.  




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