Wednesday, July 05, 2006

In my quiet time...

It is easy to live with the head-knowledge that God is a refuge, but it is the heart-knowledge--the knowledge that leads me to actively seek God in distress--that can be difficult for me. Why is it when things feel pressured I so often turn away from God rather than clinging to Him and then I make futile attempts to handle things on my own. I have been focusing on this recently because I long to trod a better path. After much thought and prayer, I have to conclude that it is because turning to God and running to Him requires me to keep a soft and vulnerable heart, which, for me, is a challenge. Waiting on God and trusting Him means that I am opening my heart to His leading and direction, which also leaves me with an open heart towards people and the possibility of getting hurt. God is showing me that this kind of openness and vulnerability is a good thing for me in spite of the fact that it can be quite scary.

I have lived most of my life as an expert heart-hardener. Even as a child I was adept at shutting off my hurt emotions at will, but, unfortunately, shutting off the bad emotions also shuts off the good emotions. This brings on a consistent feeling of angry-numbness which leads to a loss of peace and joy. Basically I end up dragging myself through life rather than actually living it.

Taking refuge in God provides a safe haven in times of trouble. He promises this consistently and you see this vividly portrayed in the book of Psalms and throughout the Bible. Often the trouble consists of feelings rather than situations and even in this, God is trustworthy and sure. I can hide under the shadow of His wings, all the while keeping my heart tender to Him, to people, and to life and this keeps me open to the joys that life has to offer. Hardening my heart not only keeps out the pain but it also keeps out the joy, love and peace, three things that, as I grow older, I realize are essentials to a life worth living!

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
--Psalm 46:1

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
--Psalm 3:3

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
--Ephesians 4:32