As we finish this short series on oasis, I wanted to allow our caring God to speak to us here through His own word about the refuge that can always be found in Him. Below are a number of passages side by side without verse numbers and usual line breaks. Read all of these verses together slowly and allow the magnitude of the refuge that He offers sink into your hearts and souls.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
But let all who take refuge in you [God] rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Passages in order: Psalm 28:7, 46:1, 5:11-12, 61:1-3, 63:1 & 5-8,71:1-2, 73:28, 84:5-7, Matthew 11:28-30)
We can do so many good things to seek oasis in our lives, but we will seek in vain without first and foremost running to Him, the one who himself is called our refuge. Let us not minimize the importance of His perfect and magnificent refuge as we seek oasis!
I wanted to end this post with a few practical ideas for carving out time for oasis. It would be wonderful to hear your ideas in the comments as well:
1. Acknowledge your need and plan your schedule accordingly. If we are feeling physically unwell, we often don’t think twice about declining commitments and opportunities that we don’t feel up to. If you are feeling spiritually drained, take that seriously and perhaps say no to some things in order to make extra time for rest in the presence of God.
2. Take an internet vacation. Put an away message on your email, vow not to sign-in to Facebook, don’t worry about following your favorite blogs or updating your own blog for awhile… With the world becoming more and more internet focused, I know that most of us spend a decent enough amount of time online over the course of a week, and largely on things that probably aren’t critical. If you are feeling a great need for oasis in Christ, perhaps give up you internet time for a bit (or decrease it) and give that extra time to prayer, worship, and time in the word.
3. Get up a little earlier than usual for extra time with God each morning, acknowledging your need for the Lord’s strength, comfort, guidance…. Depending on when you usually spend your focused time with God, maybe you don’t want to get up earlier, but might want to schedule in extra time before bed, or in the middle of the day, etc.
4. Put reminders to pray up around your house. Seeking to pray continually is a great way to seek oasis even when calm solitude may not be possible.
5. Pray through the Psalms. The psalms are prayers themselves and are such an incredible prayer guide for us as they span the vast experience of human life. By praying through the entire book, you will be led from time to time to pray about needs that you may not have even yet acknowledged exist. On this topic, if you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible to help guide you in praying through the Psalms.
What does it mean to you to seek refuge in God?
(Post by: Ashley)