April 17: fortress (1 Samuel 19; 1 Chronicles 7; Psalm 59; Matthew 4)

What are the “demons” that we face? Today’s readings point to many such challenges. Saul faced his demons of anger, jealousy, rage, obsession, and fear. He allowed these demons to overwhelm him, and yet he could be overwhelmed by the presence of God which is what we read at the end of chapter 18.

Jonathan and Michal faced the evil will of Saul with courage. Their lack of self-interest was in sharp contrast to Saul’s obsession with himself. To survive, David ran from the wrath of Saul and found refuge in God by living with Samuel. Where do we go to find refuge? David prayed: You are my strength, I sing praise to you. You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. (Psalm 59)

When have we leaned into our faith, totally and completely letting go of control, so that God could be our strength and fortress?

In Matthew 4, even Jesus faced demons of putting self-interest above God through the temptations in the wilderness. Jesus overcame the attacks by claiming the strength that only God can provide. The chapter ends with people coming to Jesus for healing.

At the start of this new day, “you, God, are my fortress”. If today is like other days, I will face demons from within and beyond. If I am not clearly focused on where my strength is found, I will not be ready.

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