Allowing God To Be Your Refuge
"God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns."
Several weeks ago, while walking my pup on one of the cooler mornings of the week, I came across this small plant pushing its way through a crack in a concrete wall. It's usually during these walks that I find myself praying or listening to worship as I stroll through my neighborhood, spending time with God and my dog. On this particular morning, heavy with sadness and riddled with confusion and anger, I wept and walked and prayed, and wept some more. Through my tears, I realized that the little plant, seemingly weak and flimsy, was somehow still managing to grow between a rock and a hard place. With a heavy-hearted sigh I whispered, "That's me God."
Completely overwhelmed, I sat myself on the sidewalk and let the waterworks have their moment of freedom to flow as they pleased. And in that moment of brokenness, I noticed something I hadn't. The little plant was growing directly in the line of sunlight. Though shadow had surrounded it, it was somehow positioned in a unique place to receive the warm kiss of sweet light on it's leaves.
All at once it reminded me of Jesus. How in every difficult circumstance I've ever faced, He has shown His love, grace, compassion, and mercy, gently guiding me through dry and barren seasons. Proving his faithfulness by supplying all my needs, and showing me new hope in the mornings after nights of worry and fear. It reminded me of the truth that: He is my Rock in the hard place. It reminded me of all the times He's brought rain in my desert, protection in the storm, and allowed just enough resistance to make me strong enough to keep growing, drawing my roots down deeper in the soil of His goodness, and then stretching them out toward His streams of gladness, where I could find refreshment. It reminded me of how, just the way this little plant was reaching for the sun, I was desperately reaching for The Son right beside it, and both of us were finding the light they bring.
Slowly, I got myself up off the sidewalk and made my way back home remembering what David wrote in Psalm 46, praying several of its verses back to God: " 'God, you are my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore I will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it's waters roar and foam and the mountains quake' (v 1-3), like the city where you dwell that is made glad by your streams, 'You are within me, I will not fall, you will help me at break of day.' (V. 5), and therefore, Abba, I will 'Be still and know that you are God.' (V.10) And I will cling to you, my Rock and my Redeemer. I trust you in this hard place."
Maybe like me, you're in a season of struggle. A season of feeling weighed down by all that life is throwing at you. A season where you feel like you're just trying to push yourself up through metaphoric concrete, stuck between a rock and a hard place and all of life’s difficulties suddenly compounded on top of you, knocking the air right out of your lungs. Maybe, like me you feel loss all around you. Grief has knocked on your door, invited itself in for a cup of tea, and made itself at home after a loved one has passed. Or also like me, you're nursing a wounded heart after a relationship failed unexpectedly. Or your finances are upside down or your dealing with debt. Perhaps your health is deteriorating, or your job let you go. Whatever it is, I encourage you to lean into the Rock that saves. Keep reaching for the Son. Keep choosing to drive your roots deeper into the soil of His word and find renewal and sustenance for your weary soul. This season will not last forever. And one day, you'll break apart the very barriers that try and hold you. The walls will fall as your roots spread and cause the very concrete that cages you, to crumble. Take heart beloved, He takes care of the lilies of the field, He will surely take care of you.
Additional Scriptures to read:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
"He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him."