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)
5 thoughts on “Refuge”
I appreciate the way in which you bring the burden that you carry, the very responsibilities that you live and give the LORD the weight. Whether silence or solitude or Sabbath, you seek God in the center of your reality. I appreciate someone who sees, hears and feels the glory of the LORD in the midst. It is not a magical cure. It is a gracious companionship and healing. Lovely.
Your words touched a deep chord within.
The glory of the LORD in our midst is indeed a gracious companionship and His healing work of wounds and weights.
May we recognize His Glory wherever we are today.
Thank you. Your words bless and encourage me. God in our midst is a gracious companionship that fortifies us for each valley and visita.
I think I did — I wonder why I have 2 of them in my inbox?
He who waits upon the Lord, will renew his strength, he will mount up with wings like eagles, he will run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Some people are able to put words to the pictures that life gives us. You have done that, Brenda. It is those people who also have words for the emotions we feel. But, sometimes, there are no words…only beauty or emotion or pain. It is in those times the Holy Spirit comes and paints the pictures and gives the words to our heart…..words we will never know….word prayers to the Father for the deep things in our hearts. I am so thankful. Prayer can be just that….the lifting of our hearts, offering them to God, asking him to look and see and make sense of our cries. Sometimes we offer tears. Sometimes we offer laughter. God takes it all….He loves it all….He wants it all. So, on our knees, scrubbing the floor, or deep in dishwater or laundry or putting clean sheets on the bed, we offer, and He receives our offering. As we sit next to one who is aged or one who is young, one who is sick, fevered, failing, we offer, He receives. And He comes and exchanges the ashes for beauty. Will I receive His offering?