One of the places Adrian and I visited in Bavaria was Coburg Fortress. It looked impressive, perched up high, looking down on all below. With its high, thick, stone walls and mean-looking portcullis, it seemed a good place to hide from enemies in safety. Inside the fortress were rooms containing suits of armour for both men and horses, as well as deadly weapons of all shapes and sizes. It gave the impression that in the days when the fortress was lived in, there was all that would be needed to combat potential enemies.
Someone who appreciated the safety of such a stronghold was Martin Luther, the sixteenth century Christian reformer, who once fled to Coburg Fortress to hide. I found it both humbling and inspiring to visit the two dimly lit rooms where he slept, ate and worked for six months, and to peer out of the windows he once looked out of.
Martin Luther knew the value of having a stronghold, a place of refuge for when trouble loomed. I wonder if he felt safe and secure as he walked in the rooms where the suits of armour and weapons were stored? Perhaps this very fortress inspired his famous hymn:
A safe stronghold our God is still,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He’ll help us clear from all the ill
That hath us now o’ertaken.
The ancient prince of hell
Hath risen with purpose fell;
Strong mail of craft and power
He weareth in this hour;
On earth is not his fellow.
Visiting Coburg Fortress certainly made me think of my stronghold. It’s not an imposing building on a hill, but a person: Jesus Christ. The Bible describes Him as a strong tower, a place of refuge, and a fortress. He’s the one I run to when trouble looms, when life seems overwhelming, when I’m aware of the enemy of my soul and temptation is fierce. In Jesus I am completely safe and secure. Nothing can separate me from His love. I wonder if Jesus is your place of refuge?