Monday, June 12, 2017

Give me strength!

Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
    and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
(Psalm 61:1-4, NIV)

So, where is your escape place? When it all gets too much where do you run to grab 5 minutes, to breathe, and get perspective again? When you’ve made it through a crisis moment, exhausted, dizzy from the adrenaline where do you catch your breath in that brief moment of opportunity – the lull before the next crisis? I often step out into the garden, even if it’s only for 30 seconds at the open door! And when there’s time and opportunity I love to get out and get lost in the tasks out there. Dig, plant, water; smell, watch, and listen.

We need those moments to take a step back and to rest. We are made in the image of our Creator who also stepped back to rest, to drink it all in and declare it to be ‘Good!’ Who gave Adam and Eve purpose and responsibility, and then who walked with them in the cool of the evening talking through their day, laughing together, stopping to smell the flowers, showing them things they hadn’t yet seen and helping them grow in understanding and love.

 You’ve always given me breathing room,
    a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
    an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
    made me welcome among those who know and love you.
(Psalm 61:3-5, MSG)

Yes, we need to catch our breath, but the Psalmist is right more than that alone we need to step out with God. We need to run to the rock that is stronger and greater, and higher than ourselves. We need to go into God’s presence, our tower of refuge. We need the closeness of being tucked in under God’s warm protective wings. We need to hear his perspective, to let him stop us so we notice the good again and see new things, and learn. It is difficult to find the time or the space. Sometimes family life with its many demands and crises can make the escape places feel so very far away – too far to be able to make it there and back before we’re needed again! But the rock, the tower of refuge and the protective wings are not far away from us. As soon as we turn, or cry out we discover God is right there. He has been close all along, beside us through the crisis simply waiting for our eyes to look for him, our heart to need him.

You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. (Psalm 139:5, MSG)

God my refuge, my safe place, my rest and strength open my eyes and heart to your presence. Renew my perspective, point out all that is good, and help me to laugh with you as we walk together today.

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