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Thursday, December 9, 2010

a refuge

I’ve found a refuge now from every sorrow
Joy everlasting and sweet;
I see this world, with all its sinful follies,
Conquered at my feet.

Oh, blessed thought, my sins are gone!
I lean on Jesus’ breast,
And while the storm without is madly raging,
I have perfect rest.

Oh, could you offer every earthly treasure,
Diamonds and pearls of the sea;
Then, turning from them I would gladly whisper,
“Christ has set me free.”

Far brighter than the shining stars above me,
Beaming with beauty and grace,
Adorned in heaven’s majesty and splendor,
Is my resting place.

I woke up singing this song this morning. I’ve found a refuge! What a thought that is! What a sure knowledge. In spite of hard times, in spite of heartaches, in spite of physical pain, there’s a refuge for us that remains solid. While men looking for and trying to legislate literal peace on the world, I’ve found a place in the presence of God that shuts out every disruptive force.

So much of the worry and heartache in this world has come about through sin. Without trusting in Christ’s saving grace we face a void that renders us hopeless. No matter what Man does to try to order his existence and be ‘in control’ he faces impossible odds. The Enemy of our soul is on every hand to create turmoil and chaos in every life around us. To make matters worse, the soul within cries out in terror of facing an eternity with out God. The most adamant atheist must deny and smother that tiny voice within him. The agnostic must turn that voice aside by addressing it to other issues of emotion and psychological explanation. The sinner acknowledges that soul-cry for help but seeks solace in every avenue from intellectual pursuits, to humanitarian activities, to sensual gratification but lays his head down at night in despair. But thank the Lord, I’ve found a refuge from all of that searching and turmoil and failure. There is a place near to God’s Heart that gives us rest.

Not that there aren’t disappointments and heartaches that have come in my life and probably will come again, there is still a place of rest. I can’t describe it to someone who hasn’t come to that place, but I just do what needs to be done and leave the rest to the Lord. It doesn’t mean I close my eyes to the difficulties or pretend they don’t exist. It doesn’t mean I simply drift through life and take no responsibility for what is happening. It doesn’t mean I can’t accomplish anything through my own hands. It doesn’t mean I am incapable or helpless in the face of life in general. It simply means that there is a point beyond which Man can do nothing and while others flail wildly about trying to impose some semblance of their own order on situations, I can simply rest in God. I can relax, knowing I have done what small portion is my responsibility and wait on God to do the rest.

Nothing the world or men could offer can replace that peace. To be able to rest while the world is raging, to have joy deep within my heart, to have the assurance of God’s grace in my life and His power over riding every evil is unspeakably precious. The description of that resting place exceeds the ability of words to describe it. I can understand John’s dilemma in writing down his Revelation. The sights he was given to look at were so unimaginable that he translated them into terms we find bizarre because he had no point of reference to describe them absolutely. That’s the way it is with describing the rest I have in Jesus. “Brighter than the shining stars above me,” “shining with beauty and grace,,” full of ‘majesty and splendor” the words still fail to describe it. It isn’t a literal physical place where I crawl in and pull the covers over my head, but it exists deep within me and no earthly force can enter in or destroy it. I have found a refuge.

It seems sometimes that the Lord leads us from blessing to blessing. As I was studying on a rest and refuge I came to the song Blessed Quietness http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Blessed_Quietness/midi/

Joys are flowing like a river,
Since the Comforter has come;
He abides with us forever,
Makes the trusting heart His home.

Blessed quietness, holy quietness,
Blest assurance in my soul!
On the stormy sea, Jesus speaks to me,
And the billows cease to roll.

Everything is turned to gladness,
All around this glorious Guest;
Banished unbelief and sadness,
All is perfect peace and rest.

Like the rain that falls from heaven,
Like the sunlight from the sky,
So the Holy Spirit given,
Falls upon us from on high.

What a wonderful salvation,
Where we always see His face!
What a peaceful habitation!
What a quiet resting-place!

It is so wonderful to be able to rest in the quietness of Christ. While some look off to the Future Millennium for peace and rest, I have it right now in this present world. When we look to that supposed time for our peace and all the blessings that accompany it we sell ourselves short of what all God has for us.

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