Note: This post was originally published on September 9, 2013. We are reposting it because the information is as important today as ever. We hope you’re challenged to think of rest in a fresh new way.
Retreat has had two primary focuses in my life: Offensive. Defensive.
I retreat to refuel—to tank up—as I run the race.
I retreat to find refuge when battered and worn.
My day away could not have been more perfect or beautiful. As I hiked the hills and lakes of northeast Indiana’s Pokagon State Park, I was taken by the brightness of the flowers, leaves, seeds and berries. The yellows, purples, reds and pinks were tucked in among the continual feast of green in every shade. The blue-blanket of the sky, with wispy clouds, covered me all day long. The songs of the birds rose up to greet me.
God’s outside work was full of wonder.
God’s inside work was full of grace.
The day was not what I expected, but entirely what I needed.
- I fell asleep in the sun (a first—listening to the quiet hum of a retired couple sharing the sun beside me).
- I wept in the arms of an unknown park employee who came upon me at a moment when the tears would not stop.
- I read words from Daniel, which spoke to my heart.
- I read words from Isaiah, painting hope on my horizon.
- I wrote a poem (another first).
- I noticed the tall corn growing golden, the green ebbing away. It tore at my heart. I cursed its dying and the coming of fall.
- I came home at 3:40 to a clean porch, a sick kid and children waiting for hugs and after school tales.
All is well.
Sunsets paint long shadows.
The heat of the day softens, cools.
Long shadows grow into deep places of darkness.
Refuge is found in these unexpected places.
We are invited to enter in.
Sunsets paint glorious skies.
Bright. Bold. Always changing.
The loud shout of its beauty becomes a quiet whisper.
Darkness descends in shades of midnight blue.
Refuge is found in this deepening darkness.
We are invited, compelled, to enter in.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (NIV)
…even the darkness will not be dark to you (O Lord); Psalm 139:12a (NIV)
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge. I will tell of all your deeds. Psalm 73:28 (NIV)
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)