The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?

“Find a happy place, Find A Happy Place, FIND A HAPPY PLACE!!” This line from the animated film, Finding Nemo sticks in my mind. A scared puffer fish called Bloat, in his tank, tries desperately to calm his mind as the glass is tapped by a scary child called Darla. He fails. Wherever the happy place in his mind is – he doesn’t get there and he suddenly puffs out and becomes like a floating ball.

It’s a common psychological technique – when under pressure, or feeling down – go in your mind to a place that is happy. Sitting in your garden, eating with friends, on the sofa with someone you love, the inside of a church, under the duvet, on a cricket pitch – wherever it is. It can help.

Psalm 71 is a song for someone who is seeking a happy or safe place, because they are are under pressure.

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

The writer of the psalm is looking for refuge. He is seeking a safe place, a happier place. He goes and finds it with the Lord. He knows that this is the place to be :”Be my rock of refuge to which I can always go”.

When I feel the pressure, when I’m not sure what’s going on, when the pain seems too much – I know where I go. I go and sit in a chair or on the floor – and I bring it all to God. This is my refuge, my safe place, my happy place. It doesn’t fix everything – but I see again that God is real, that He is speaking and that He is working. I can hear His promise again and know that if I come humbly to Him, then He has got me.

Can I invite you to do the same. Go and sit with Him. Listen to Him. Ask to know that He is your refuge.

Our psalm writer discovers this at the end of Paslm 71:

19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God? 20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. 21 You will increase my honour and comfort me once more.

May you find your refuge, your happy place with God today.

Love Matt