Where do you go when you want to find refuge? Some find refuge in solitude, others in crowds, still others must be with family, and then there are those who find refuge with a very few close friends. I have found refuge in a book, on a beach, working on a project, getting my hands dirty, and hiking in the mountains. We all find refuge differently, but is there a common denominator to how we find refuge?
Jesus found refuge from the crowds by going out to the wilderness at daybreak – there He would pray. Jesus also liked a good hike, a garden outside the city, sitting at the well, and a good nap in the bow of the fishing boat – no matter the weather or circumstance. Jesusliked to eat breakfast, supper, and various meals in the wilderness with His followers. He liked hanging out with three specific disciples that He had grown up with – they knew Him the best.
Where would the people that know you best say that you find refuge? Is your refuge defined by the people you are with? Is it defined by a space or activity? Or, is it possible that the common denominator is the mindset?
Refuge. Rest. Refreshment. Recreation.
I would suggest that the healthiest people are those who can find these things in the unlikeliest of places. This is what we see in Jesus’ life.
How do you respond when someone interrupts your recreation? It is an indictment upon my emotional health when I get angry at the person who asks me to do ministry during my day of rest. My attitude wasn’t the best as I boarded a crowded airplane without my family because I had to return from vacation three days early to deal with a crisis. More recently, I was asked to give up watching college football to help a friend with a project!
I find great refreshment and recreation through exercise. To sit and do nothing is not refreshing to me. Then I broke my arm. Then I broke it again. I had one year without surgery and started to play soccer again. Then I tore my ACL. I recently stepped back on to the soccer field and pulled my hamstring. How can I find refreshment when I can’t exercise?
What if it isn’t about finding a substitute activity? What if it is about believing that Jesus is my Refuge? What if He is my Refreshment and Rest? What if He is the Creator and my Re-Creator?
We are less likely to go in to conflict with ourselves and others when we truly believe that Jesus is our Refuge. Rest is found in the relationship with Jesus not in the activity or absence of activity. Refreshment is found in the ministry of The Spirit – “For My food/refreshment is to do the will of the Father.” The yoke and burden of ministry is heavy and harsh for those carrying the load, but Jesus says, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." So why is it heavy? Because you are carrying a burden that you were never intended to carry. Why is it so harsh? Because you are pulling against the Master.
What is keeping you from refuge in Christ? What is preventing you from finding refreshment in the ministry He has given you? Who is obstructing your rest and interrupting your recreation? You might want to get a mirror out.