Refreshed

I realize that much of my country is experiencing a blast of icy Arctic air, and that we’re seeing pictures on the TV of houses covered in 6 feet of snow and “polar vortex” is becoming a part of our everyday vocabulary. But indulge me. I’m going to talk about something “cool”.

As difficult as it may be for some of you right now, think back to a time when you were hot. Uncomfortably, irritatingly hot. You wanted an escape. You needed an escape. And then you opened the door to an air conditioned room, poured yourself an icy drink and ahhhhhhh…..you were refreshed.

Ever thought of your time with God that way?

I hadn’t. Until we came across this verse in Bible study the other night:

“Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”. Acts 3:19

That word “refreshing”? Comes from a Greek word that means, “To breathe, to make cool, refreshing with cool air, to relieve when under distress”.

Time spent with the Lord is like a wave of cool air washing over you when you’re hot and tired and cranky and just need relief. It doesn’t need to be 90 degrees outside for us to feel tired and cranky and in need of relief. Life can do that to us without regard for actual temperatures and seasons. And we stay there longer than we need to sometimes. Silly us. We forget where the relief can be found.

Peter’s sermon here in Acts reminds us that we need to be right with the Lord. And when we are, any moment we spend in His presence refreshes us, revives us, relieves us.

Whatever your particular need is today, whether a cool glass of iced tea or a warm mug of hot chocolate, let it remind you to spend some time with God.

Refreshments are waiting.

He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Psalm 51:12

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in You? Psalm 85:6

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me. Psalm 138:7

Hard

Sometimes life is hard. Not impossible. Not devastating or horrific. Just hard.

And when life is hard, I’m not tempted to walk away from God. I’ve never been tempted to write God off or shake my fist at Him in anger. My protest is a softer one.

I pretend the hard thing doesn’t matter.

I pretend that it doesn’t bother me. And sometimes I realize days – maybe even weeks or months – have gone by and I haven’t really prayed about the hard thing. I might have fleeting conversations with God about it, but I haven’t sat down with Him to really wrestle it out.

It’s one thing to surrender a hard thing to God, turning it over to Him, believing He’ll work it out for my good. But it’s another thing to avoid the proverbial elephant in the room, thinking that if I simply don’t acknowledge it, life will just go on. The days will pass and eventually the hard thing won’t even matter anymore.

I know better than that.

I know that God knows my heart and knows all about my life – including the hard parts. And I know (silly me) that God has a purpose and a plan to do me good in the end. He’s using the hard things to show me how He is sufficient, He is trustworthy, He is kind.

He never promised a soft life. Abraham had to wait. David was pursued by enemies. Job had everything taken from him. Paul had a thorn in the flesh. Sharon has a hard thing (not impossible, not devastating, not horrific, just hard).

The hard things in our lives DO matter. They matter to God. And so today, God and I will talk about mine. Even just writing that made me smile. I’m looking forward to not pretending today. And I think God is looking forward to that too.

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

…that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end… Deuteronomy 8:16

For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:17