On a trip to the Mediterranean some years ago, I let my imagination run loose as I stepped into a real world of medieval fortresses and tales of knights in shining armor on the Greek island of Rhodes.
The old town of Rhodes, with the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, looked in near perfect condition.
Sandy brown stone walls towered above us. They stood solid; just as strong as when they were built centuries ago—a physical reminder of God’s everlasting promise to be a stronghold and fortress. How many men, I wondered as I craned by neck to see the top, toiled under the hot sun, glistening with sweat, to build such a structure stone by stone?
We passed through a small archway at the bottom of two circular turrets, topped with castellations—like from drawings of castles by a child. No gate barred our way. No Crusaders, with white crosses emblazoned on their chests and swords drawn, questioned our entry.
During the time of the crusaders, anyone who was a friend of the Knights of St. John could safely walk the narrow cobbled streets inside, barter at the market stalls, and rest in the shade of cypress trees, just as we did on a sweltering July day.
Another reminder of how God gives us rest and respite when we turn to him for protection and shelter. We can, like David, be confident that: He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge.
At one point, I peered through an arrow slit shaped like a cross, and imagined the medieval archer scanning the blue waters for invaders. With his bow raised and back against the slanting wall, he could shoot an arrow through the narrow vertical slit without danger to himself.
The Bible says God is an archer who comes to our rescue. When we cry out to him, he responds just as he did for David: He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy. God will fight for you.
The Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem came to Rhodes after being forced to retreat from the Holy Land by the Ottoman Turks. They built the fortress and walled city. They were warriors but also “hospitallers”—welcoming and caring for worn, weary, and sick pilgrims from the Holy Land.
God will not only fight for you, but when you are worn out, weary, sick with worry, God welcomes you. He will be your strength.
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.Psalm 18:30
When you doubt, when you fear, when you wonder if God is doing what he can to keep you safe, slip inside those strong, solid walls. Trust God and let him fight for you.
Use the following words as you pray.
You are my fortress
And my castle.
In you I put my trust,
that you will protect you.
Shield me from harm.
I run to you.
Help me feel secure.
Protect me from
Be my rescuing knight.
Give me rest from worry,
revive my mind, body, and soul,
so I may praise you.