“The conclusion”—the speaker said in a booming voice—“is simple. Thank God for the small things in life. Don’t look for the millions, but be thankful for the cents.” Everybody applauded.
The seminar was over. With my notebook full of hastily scribbled notes and two new self-help books on how to enjoy life, I left the meeting hall somewhat bewildered.
It had actually been a decent seminar, but I hadn’t heard anything new. The message—to enjoy the small things in life and to do so daily—is as old as the hills. How to do that remained a mystery even after the seminar.
At the start of the year, my life was in shambles. Our bank account was almost empty and health troubles were looming. And now, fear had found a comfortable resting place in my daily meditations.
How could I be thankful for small blessings like a cup of hot tea under the winter sun, or the reassuring purr of a cat on my lap, when I didn’t know how to survive the next month? There wasn’t a moment where the cares of this life weren’t besieging me with their taunts and logical explanations for why my life was a failure and I wasn’t going to make it.
I heard the word in my mind as clearly as if someone had spoken it directly to me. I needed sanctuary.
In the olden days, sanctuary referred to a person’s right to protection within the walls of a consecrated church. As long as the person seeking shelter stayed within the confines of the church, their right to sanctuary was usually respected.
How did that apply to me, though?
I too was on the run. My fears were as real as the pursuers of a miscreant in medieval times. Trying to hide from them was impossible. But there is a sanctuary. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are safe.”1
Safe! What a wonderful word.
In the strong tower of Jesus, I can find rest and strength. It’s where I can discuss everything with the Savior and He will show me how to deal with each problem and fear.
What about all my troubles? Aren’t they still there?
After time in the sanctuary, their sting is gone. There’s nothing that Jesus and I together cannot handle. And the best part is, I can run back to the sanctuary as often as necessary.
“Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul shall rest.”
—Fanny Crosby, 1868