THE HID­ING PLACE

Find­ing refuge

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEVE HEARTS STEVE HEARTS HAS BEEN BLIND SINCE BIRTH. HE IS A WRITER, MU­SI­CIAN, AND MEM­BER OF THE FAM­ILY IN­TER­NA­TIONAL IN NORTH AMER­ICA.

In the tem­pes­tu­ous, stormy mo­ments of our lives, we of­ten fo­cus so in­tently on find­ing a way of es­cape or res­cue that we al­to­gether for­get about the most re­li­able and true source of shel­ter and refuge.

Last night, sleep seemed to to­tally elude me. I had been fac­ing a low mo­ment of dis­cour­age­ment, doubt, and frus­tra­tion. I was rest­less in both mind and body. It was all I could do to pre­vent my thoughts from go­ing places they ought not to go.

It was rain­ing fairly hard out­side. Although in the phys­i­cal I was shel­tered, warm, and dry in­side the house, my spirit felt the ex­act op­po­site. The rain out­side seemed to pour in uni­son with the on­go­ing dif­fi­cul­ties I’ve been fac­ing for a while. In­side, I felt ex­posed and un­pro­tected from the cold winds, soaked to the bone and drenched by the rain that seemed like it would never stop.

I was quickly los­ing my grip on hope, and my faith was flickering low. I told God that I wanted with all my heart to hang on and be faith­ful, but that this would only be pos­si­ble with His help. Then I lay in si­lence for a mo­ment.

The an­swer I re­ceived was rather un­ex­pected. I was guided to lis­ten to the song “Hid­ing Place,” by Steven Curtis Chap­man.

1 I put on the song, not ex­pect­ing much. Af­ter all, I knew it like the back of my hand. Yet, each word seemed to hit the spot like a cup of hot cof­fee on a cold, rainy day, or like the sen­sa­tion one feels when com­ing in from the win­ter cold to a warm place. I’m not ask­ing You to take away my

trou­bles, Lord. ’Cause it’s through the stormy weather I

learn to trust You more. But I thank You for the prom­ise that I

have come to know. Your un­fail­ing love sur­rounds me when

I need it most. You’re my hid­ing place, Safe in Your em­brace, I’m pro­tected from the storm that rages. When the wa­ters rise, And we run to hide, Lord, in You we find our hid­ing place.

As the song con­tin­ued to play, God spoke to me. Are you tak­ing shel­ter in My prom­ises and My love for you? Or are you too busy look­ing and hop­ing for a way of es­cape from all this?

I had clearly been do­ing the lat­ter. I had been hop­ing and pray­ing to be res­cued from this sit­u­a­tion, in­stead

of us­ing God’s Word and love for me as the shel­ter it was meant to be. No won­der I felt so ex­posed and vul­ner­a­ble.

It’s not that I can’t or won’t bring you out of this sit­u­a­tion some­how, He con­tin­ued to speak to my heart. But mean­while, let Me be the refuge and shel­ter I promised to be for you un­til the storm runs its course.

With these words came flood­ing back a se­ries of prom­ises I have known for as long as I can re­mem­ber:

“God is our refuge and strength, a help al­ways near in times of great trou­ble. That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart, when the moun­tains crum­ble into the cen­ter of the sea, when its wa­ters roar and rage, when the moun­tains shake be­cause of its surg­ing waves.”

2 “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings un­til the dis­as­ter has passed.”

3

“The eter­nal God is your refuge, and his ev­er­last­ing arms are un­der you.”

4 None of these prom­ises speak of “res­cue” from trou­ble, although God can and does res­cue us ac­cord­ing to His will. More im­por­tant, He is our “refuge” as we go through tri­als and dif­fi­cul­ties. Just as run­ning into a build­ing dur­ing a storm does not cause the storm to cease; rather, it pro­vides shel­ter un­til the storm runs its course.

With this re­newed per­spec­tive on storms, I can now fully trust and rest in Je­sus to be my refuge and shel­ter for as long as the storm lasts, leav­ing the fi­nal out­come in His hands.

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