articulate - adjective
1. having parts connected by joints, as in "articulated"
2. made up of distinct words joined together in such a way as to convey meaning
3. able to express oneself clearly and distinctly
4. well formulated, clearly presented

Thursday, August 8, 2013


In recent months we have been reminded just exactly how scary it can be to be an American overseas. Even the one place of refuge in each country, the American Embassy, has failed to be the safe haven it should be as it has become the target of our enemies.

Every August my mind turns toward eastern Africa. Yesterday, August 7, was the 15-year anniversary of the US Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Since this event was the basis for my first book, I invested a ton of time into researching the locations, cultural settings, and people involved. It was incredible to view photos of the actual devastation wrought by the hands of terrorists, to trace the paper trail of warnings ignored and defensive missions aborted.

The US State Department has very strict guidelines for the safe construction of the embassies. Unfortunately, the site in Dar es Salaam did not meet these regulations. Had those who chose the location of that embassy adhered to the criteria, perhaps even fewer lives would have been lost. Instead, they ignored the specifications, evidently thinking that this site would do. Complaints that were sent to the State Department were also ignored. It was pretty safe by most standards, having been built by the safety-conscious Israelis a couple of decades before. Besides, who would attack an embassy in eastern Africa? To quote General Kazim in the movie Sahara, "Don't worry. It's Africa. Nobody cares about Africa." My heart cries out for the needless destruction and loss of lives not only at the hands of terrorists, but also as the result of a complacent arrogance.

Sometimes it's better to fear. 

The old adage says, "Better safe than sorry."

Thankfully, if the information on the internet is to believed, the State Department now rigorously guards it safety regulations. They learned their lesson. Not only was the location unsafe, the attitude was downright dangerous. 

The whole idea of a refuge is intriguing to me. Needing to explain it to some elementary-age children recently, I described to them how a mother hen puffs out her wings when danger is near, calling her chicks to come nestle underneath. Once they all are safely tucked in, she snugs them in under her wings and waits out the trouble until the danger has passed. If you want to get to her chicks, you have to go through her first.

It brings to mind some wonderful verses from Scripture. No one is certain who authored Psalm 146, but if it was King David, he certainly spoke from personal experience when he wrote:
Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
~Psalm 146:3-5

The author of Psalm 46 states it even more succinctly:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
~Psalm 46:1 

When we consider national politics, international events, and even what is happening in our own neighborhoods, our world does not seem to be a very safe place. But the Bible is clear: 
Cast your cares on the Lord
and He will sustain you.

~Psalm 55:22

This encourages my heart.

(questions for you)

*What are some verses or quotes that sustain you during hard times? 
*Who or what is the refuge that helps steady your heart?

I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Psalm 91. It was set to music and I learned most of the song while in high school. Unfortunately, the song was deemed "too difficult" for us and never performed in public. I wish it had been it was quite powerful.

    1. Oh, I'd love to hear it, April! Psalm 91 is one of my favorites as well. :)

      (So glad you were able to wade through the "Romanian" text!) ;)

  2. Psalm 103: 1-5 recently..."Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, [bless] his holy name.
    Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
    Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
    Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
    Who satisfieth thy mouth with good [things; so that] thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." When I forget that there are many benefits of belonging to Him, these verses remind me of some of them. There's more if you continue reading through Psalm 103, but the first five are a good start to remembering why belonging to Him is so wonderful!! He is soooo good to me!

    1. I love this passage, Judy! Isn't it amazing how much great stuff there is in the book of Psalms? Thanks for sharing it! :)