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
If you’re from farming country like I am, the summer heat can be as brutal as the winter cold. Driving on county highways and country roads takes you past many a pasture with herds of cattle, crammed under any available shade tree in an effort to get some relief from the oppressive temperatures. I wonder: how often do we really take refuge in God’s shadow this way? How much energy do we invest in trying to solve our own problem, pull ourselves up by our boot straps and tough it out instead of choosing to rest in His strength? I am amazed how just spending time in worship and prayer reenergizes me and realigns my focus. When I surround myself with God and create an atmosphere in which his Spirit can “hang out”, it’s like marinating in His presence. When I make time to talk with him daily, it provides me opportunities to lay down those things I’m trying to figure out or fix on my own. It gives me an opportunity to do whatever spiritual warfare may be necessary to get me through any challenges I may be facing. I also renew my mind (i.e. align my thinking with God’s thinking) when I read scripture or listen to an inspiring sermon. The more I press in and marinate in His presence, the more I absorb His strength and joy. This is how I have come to experience what it truly means for God to be my refuge. I can dive into His presence and before long I feel anything weighing me down begin to lift. My hope rises and joy begins to bubble up in my Spirit when I focus on His goodness, power and faithfulness. Suddenly, where I was burdened and weary, I find myself excited to see what amazing way God is going to show Himself!
If you find yourself struggling to really believe that this is possible, I encourage you to talk to Him about it! He won’t be shocked or offended; in fact He already knows how you feel. He sees how you’re struggling and wants very much to be able to help you experience the relief that comes from taking refuge in His presence. Spending time with Him daily isn’t just a religious platitude, or something we do to stay on God’s good side. His presence is life-giving! Simply being in His presence changes things; it changes us! It is what comforts and sustains us, and God knows this; that’s why He asks us to seek Him.