We All Need A Safe Place To Dwell

Photo by Joey Banks on Unsplash.com

God Enters Into Our Fractured World To Make It Feel Safe

by Eric Elkin

O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?
— Psalm 15:1

When we brought Jussi (pronounced You-See) home from the Humane Society, we purchased a kennel for him to sleep in at night. Our other dog, Reuben, never slept in a kennel. He preferred a basket with a sleeping pad in it. Jussi, though, was one year old and energetic. We worried about what he might get into when we were sleeping. The kennel seemed a natural solution.


Training Jussi to use the kennel was easy. We opened the door, said “Kennel,” and gave him a treat every time he went inside. It didn’t take long for him to learn the routine. Matter of fact, sometimes when he was hungry, he would go running into the kennel without being told and look for a reward.


This summer we started to notice when it turns 8:30 pm, almost like clockwork, Jussi starts pacing around and getting restless. At first, we thought he wanted to play fetch. Instead, he kept looking in the direction of the kennel. When we asked, “Do you want to go to your kennel?” He started jumping up and down and dashed to it.  He loves curling up in that thing and falling asleep.


We’ve also learned Jussi is afraid of the dark. I’m certain the kennel provides him a wonderful sense of protection. The kennel draws upon his natural dog instincts. It is his den. A secure place to sleep without having to worry about bigger predators. He’s learned to claim it as his safe spot to dwell.


Where mercy, love, and pity dwell, there God is dwelling too.
— William Blake

I remember having a similar feeling about the blanket forts we used to build in our living room. Crawling into them made me feel safe, even if it was only in my head. The soft fabric walls made it a great place to abide. I get the same “blanket fort feeling” when I go to bed and burying myself in blankets on a cold winter night. A warm bed is a safe place to dwell.


Woven deep into every human heart is a desire to dwell in safety. In many ways, the desire is no different than a dogs’ instincts to den. Although, our fears are not only about wild predators but those who seek to harm our emotional health as well. A home provides safe shelter from the world.


Kennels, blanket forts, and warm beds can only provide so much protection from the world. A more reliable form of security is a good community of friends, neighbors or colleagues. Treating people well and having them looking out for you is more than safe, it is a blessing which produces abundant life.  


A sanctuary is not always a four-wall structure, but a place of security where people are kind to one another. When these conditions exist, it is easy to feel as though we are dwelling with God. Sometimes, though, it is just a four-wall structure where fractured souls gather to seek refuge from the world. When this is the case, it is God who enters in and makes it feel holy.

Click to read Psalm 15

Reflection Questions:

  • Where is your safe place to dwell?
  • What makes it safe for you?
  • What is causing you to feel insecure this day?
  • How can God help bring peace to your insecurity?

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