But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
Yesterday we had an unusual spring wind and rain storm. Here in the northwest Oregon/southwest Washington region spring rain is a given. However, high winds, (and even some small tornadoes on the coast), are not common for us this time of the year.
Like yesterday's weather, life's storms usually hit us unexpectedly. We are sailing along through our day when, suddenly, a letter in the mail, or a doctor's report, or a phone call hits us with some bad news. Instantly, our emotions go on high alert. "Panic!" they tell us. "Do something!" "Run!" Our mind listens to our emotions and begins to plot how to fix the situation or our thoughts may run along with our emotions and begin imagining a worst case scenario.
At times like this it's good to stop, take a deep breath, and choose to take shelter in the refuge of God's loving protection. The truth is, what may be an unpleasant surprise to us did not catch God unawares. I like what I recently heard one pastor say, "the waves that were overwhelming Peter were under Jesus' feet". (See Matthew 14:22-33) Jesus is the master of the wind and the waves. He is in control even when every thing around us feels out of control. Remember that nothing and no one can take us out of the refuge of His loving arms.
Rejoicing and singing for joy is about the last thing that comes to your mind in tough times. It's contrary to every emotion you feel and every thought you think. That's why it's so powerful. You are safe in the refuge of God's love to tell Him all about your worry, fear and anxiety. You are safe to lament and weep. God is not going to tell you to suck it up and to stop crying and He's definitely not some type of needy God Who craves our praise to fill up some lack in Himself. The truth is, when we've poured out our heart to God and then, in spite of our emotions we choose to rejoice and sing, it does two things. First of all, it is a reminder to ourselves about the character of the God we serve and His faithful love for us. Secondly, it drives the enemy of our soul crazy. he wants the storm to sink our faith and he can't stand it when we declare with our own mouth, whether through spoken words or song, our praise to God even in the midst of our mess.
I don't want these words to come across as trite or overly simplistic. I know that some who may read these words could be facing horrendous circumstances. But I also know that in the worst moments in my life, I found that taking refuge in God and His love for me is what sustained me as I walked through my own dark valley. Rejoicing and singing, with tears streaming down my face and my heart in pieces, is what broke off my heavy chains of hopelessness and despair. Whatever you are facing, I pray that you will experience this, too.