Wendy and I went on a trip years ago to a place which felt like a tropical paradise. It was warm and welcoming. The waters were crystal clear and seemed to go on forever. I do vividly remember one interesting aspect of this paradise – rain. It wasn’t that it rained much at all. We had many days of absolute beauty, no overcast. But when the rain came, it was unexpected. It seemed to come on in the blink of an eye. When it rains on the beaches of North Carolina, we usually pack up and go inside – the rain seems to take a seat and stay a while. But not here. People would just crowd under one of the nearby trees. Just hang on a little and the storm will pass. There was no need to pick up your stuff. No need to go inside. Just hang out under the tree for a few and then return to your normal activity. The trees provided a reprieve in a downpour. They gave us a refuge from the storm. It didn’t last long and it was just what we needed.
When I read the Psalm in today’s focus scripture, I thought about how God provides refuge in our storms. He shields us and protects us. He provides exactly what we need just when we need it. But he doesn’t intend for us to stay there forever. We have to go back out. We have to move forward, seeking to serve him. We are called to go and serve, not stay and hideout. We are taught to be strong and courageous, God is with us. These are gifts as we go.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want to just stay in the refuge. I want to be covered and not come out again. The world can be cruel. There can be so many things which hurt us. It can feel like too much. But God has given us the courage to move out into the world to share his love. We are given all we need to reach out with his kindness and spread his hope. These are things so desperately needed in our world. And we have the keys – the peace, love, joy and hope. Sometimes we just need to move out of our comfort and into a hurting world.
There is a time when refuge is exactly what we need. There is also a time to step forward with God into the world. Wherever you may find yourself today, may you feel the presence of the Almighty. He is with us.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
until the destroying storms pass by.
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery