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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Come Away With Me

Last week was my husband's birthday. I wanted to surprise him with something special (other than the new laser-guided mitre saw I gave him--so many power tools, so little time!) so I made reservations at a lovely hotel in the North Carolina mountains. When he arrived home from work on Friday, I said, "Get in the car, we're going somewhere." He had no idea where we were going and tried to guess a time or two, but eventually I could see the stress lines on his face begin to smooth out as he leaned back and enjoyed the ride. When we arrived at the hotel, we were delighted to find our beautiful room featured its own private balcony that overlooked the river. We slept that night with the balcony window open so we could listen to the soothing rush of the water over the rocks. Sometimes getting away from the daily pressures and tension is the best medicine.

Jesus says in Mark 6:31, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while . . ." When life becomes brutal, a temporary reprieve for a breath of fresh air offers the opportunity to seek out the sanctuary of God's grace. We've all heard it said that God won't ever put more on us than we can bear. If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it. After a while those statements begin to sound like over-used cliches to the one going through the difficulty. When we find ourselves drowning in stress, we don't need cliches. All we want to hear is the whisper of God's voice telling us to come away for a while, rest in the comfort of His sanctuary, refresh our spirit and renew ourselves in His presence.

During the months I was caring for our son during his cancer battle, I was "on call" 24/7. Taking a physical vacation was out of the question. No force on earth could have torn me away from him. But I still sought the rest and sanctuary of God's presence. In the midst of the the ravages of my son's disease, the long hours, the sleepless nights, the grim faces of the doctors, and the intimidating side effects of my son's treatment, I could stay within God's sanctuary. He walked with me through every aspect of the disease, and as long as I didn't run ahead of Him, I could remain in His shadow. Only if I strayed would I be vulnerable.

When my strength and endurance fails, I have an advocate. His is my refuge and rock. He is my shelter and strong tower. When I feel like running away from home, I run to Him. The best news is, I don't have to make reservations or an appointment, I don't have to fill out insurance forms or sit in a waiting room, and nobody will ask me for my credit card number. He is near, closer than my own breath. When I am confronted by fear, weariness, dispair, or just plain day to day stress, where else would I go but to my God? He is calling to me to come away with Him for a season--a respite of renewal, a safe place in the shadow of His wings.

Thanks for letting my share my heart.