Psalm 84 became my refreshment. "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!" (v. 1)
How good it is to hang out with God. How good it is to draw near and feel His presence. It gives us joy and we feel secure. We praise Him and we realize how blessed we are and we just want more of Him. It's a beautiful picture of abiding.
"Blessed are those whose strength is in you..." (v. 5) When we trust in the Lord, He renews our strength. We are refreshed by coming to Him -- consciously and deliberately abiding in Him.
The footnote in my Bible mentioned this psalm was used while on a pilgrimage to worship the Lord. It explained,"The joyful expectations of the pilgrims transform the difficult ways into places of refreshment..." and "they experience anew the bountiful hand of God."
How true that has been through these last difficult months! Many times I have crawled into the shelter of His wings to abide in Him and draw my strength from Him. On the day before one of Ted's difficult surgeries when we found ourselves "between a rock and a hard place," I knew God was up to something. Despite the dim prognosis from the doctors, I had a sweet peace and joyful expectations of what God could and would do.
Through the long turbulent weeks that followed, I clung to God's promises. We were encouraged by visits from praying friends and sporatic improvements in Ted's condition, and we found ourselves living "from strength to strength" (v. 7).
But I began to wonder what God would require. Not everyone who asks receives healing. God may have other plans for us. Would we ever have a bonfire again, or camp together or go out in the canoe? I hated to give that up, but I knew I had to lay it down. Wherever you lead us Lord, we'll be faithful in following.
Imagine my amazement after my surrender. The bountiful hand of God has been at work and I am thrilled to report that Ted has been off oxygen for two weeks now! Only a few days after "unplugging" the oxygen, we had our first blazing bonfire. Last weekend, we camped in a tent, thoroughly enjoying the music of the woods -- like it was our first time.
Today, my spirit soared as we glided across a pond in our canoe! With the sun on our backs, I looked deep into the gleaming water at all the life sustained within. The beautiful underwater plant life, tiny snails, lily pads attracting dragonflies and honey bees -- all great illustrations of abiding. I was ever so thankful as I reflected on how God knows all our needs and our wants and He is such a great provider!
Oh God, how great you are! You do not withhold any good thing! (v. 11) As the last days of summer are fleeting, you have extended this season of our lives and we find our refreshment doing the things we love -- together. O Lord Almighty, blessed are those who trust in you! (v. 12)