Kids like to build forts. Adults like to build forts too, but we don’t build forts made of bricks and concrete. The materials we use might be a lot of good works we do, thinking we’re protecting ourselves from facing consequences for our sin. Or it can be a fortress built by putting on an act and telling everybody we’re doing great. We might fill up our schedule with all kinds of things that keep us busy in an effort to build a wall that keeps us from facing our fears and hurts.
We all need a fortress, but not the ones we build. We need the fortress built by the Lord. In our recent vacation Bible school the good news was shared that in this scary world we can find a fortress. We can run to God. He protects us and keeps us safe. “He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 62:5-6).
At times we hide behind the false fortress of our own strength. We don’t want to let other people in. We’re afraid they’ll see the real us and all our weaknesses and shortcomings. If they see that, they may not like us. So we build the fort.
We might have all kinds of things we want to keep hidden behind a fortress. It may be a past we’re ashamed of, weakness we don’t want to admit, hurts and pains we try to ignore and bury deep in our soul. We build a fortress around these things. The walls we build prevent others from getting into our lives and getting close.
The apostle Paul was willing to tear down walls and let others into his life. “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange – I speak as to my children – open wide your hearts also. … Make room for us in your hearts” (II Corinthians 6:11-13, 7:2).
When we are secure that God is our fortress, we find freedom to take down the false fortresses we try to build. God keeps our soul safe. Our fears fade and we can let others in and let them know who we really are.
I recently read the book, “No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending” by Esther Fleece. I appreciated the book and would recommend it for you to read. The author suffered through a terrible childhood and it caused her to build a lot of forts around her soul. She was trying to protect herself from getting hurt again. She tried to pretend she was over the pain and everything was fine. She hadn’t been truly loved growing up and it caused her to doubt people would love her if they learned of her weakness and hurt. But then the good news of Jesus broke down the forts she had made. She realized God knew her completely and still loved her. His true love and grace was a fortress she could count on. She could take down the forts of faking fine and trying to work hard to earn people’s respect and affection. She found security and welcome in the mighty fortress of Jesus’ love.
Each of us can find rest for the soul and everlasting love in the fortress of God’s grace.