When I was a kid growing up in Austin (before it was Austin) there were actually empty lots and freedom to be a ridiculous kid. And I was.
Across from my house along a creek my friends and I made a sweet tree-fort. Three stories tall with a secret entrance so that all the bad guys couldn’t get to us. It was glorious. I loved making forts in trees or out of blankets in my bedroom or whatever.
I still love making forts, but they look different now. I make protective forts out of things like reputation, money, morality, health, looks and family.
So what is a fort? A fort for me is something I build to bring me personal heart-safety. It’s where I try create and secure my identity and hope. Something that will protect me from insecurity and pain. The problem is that forts don’t work. The enemy of pain keeps sneaking in and stealing my value and hope. But I keep making them, thinking that maybe this next one will do the trick.
King David did the same, and he faced some nasty enemies. He tried making forts out of armies, riches and reputation, but they repeatedly failed him. But he also moved into The Fort that alone could offer shelter. He writes about it a lot, but let’s look at Psalm 18:1-3 where he realized what REALLY brought him deliverance.
1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 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.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
It is the same but different for us. Our “enemies” are likely not bad people seeking to do us harm but ourselves and the sin that is so pervasive…or the nasty enemies of this life like death and disease. God in his infinite glory, power and sacrificial love sent Jesus to fully “save” us from the Greatest Enemy we will ever face: Sin. And in so doing he has set HIMSELF up as our fortress. By no means does this mean that our lives will now be sappy and happy. Quite the contrary. But our hope is no longer is comfort and ease (which are unattainable), but in HIM (who is perfectly attainable). And HE cannot be taken away, nor can we be taken away from him. When our “enemies” attack, we are not alone. When we are in despair, we hurt but are joined by the Great Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”