Refreshed by Love

A parched soul.  A thirsty heart.  A mind chapped by arid thoughts.  A longing to be anointed with an oil of joy.  A desire to be refreshed by love.

"As the deer pants for streams of water, 
so my soul pants for you, my God.  
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  
When can I go meet with God?  
My tears have been my food day and night, 
while people say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'  
These things I remember as I pour out my soul: 
how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of 
the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise, 
among the festive throng." Psalm 42:1-4 (NIV)

When our hearts and souls are feeling dry, wouldn’t it be amazing to have a waterfall of love to be refreshed in?  To just stand near and under the shower of love while the cool spray washes away the accumulated dirt, muck and mire built up from living in a broken and fallen world.

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It is easy to think of refreshment as a cool drink on a hot day; a glass of iced lemonade when the humidity is sweltering.  It could also be a snack to munch away the tediousness of meetings or an excuse to linger a bit longer in conversational chatter.  Why are food and beverages so often tied to refreshment?

Webster.com has another definition of refreshment, “the process of becoming rested and regaining strength or energy.”  It seems that this kind of refreshment would require more than food and drink to be obtained.  This is the kind of refreshment I envision when I read the words of the Psalmist.

A weary soul, a dehydrated heart.  Tears poured out, unreplenished.  Longing to be overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness, but feeling like the well of appreciation has dried to a puddle of thick mud.

My dear reader, can you related to these kinds of thoughts and feelings?  Is there something in the circumstances of your life causing you to feel worn out, exhausted and spent?  Have you poured out tears over little things because there is a pressure that has built up over time just looking for release?  Is there a physical, financial or emotional malady that is making the hours of the day drag on without the sight of relief on the horizon?

As I sit here this morning reading through my Bible, meandering through notes I have been accumulating, I really just want to crawl back into bed.  My plan this morning was to sleep later than usual.  Last night as I sleepily lumbered to bed, I turned off all alarms in an attempt to give myself the freedom to enter a process of refreshment by sleep.

But then, just a few moments after my alarm would normally ring out, I found my eyes open.  Of course this lead my body to quickly deny that the day was beginning and an attempt to return to a peaceful slumber.  A moment later I felt those wheels in my mind begin turn like the handles of a faucet and a stream of thoughts poured right down into my heart; landing with a cool splash that confirmed my slumber time had passed.

There are so many responsibilities, obligations and duties that need to be tended to in my world as household caretaker.  There’s the Thanksgiving holiday today that I should give more thought and energy to.  I could use an infusion of PEP in my own step before I head out for those festivities.  All of that is going to have to wait.

I know that there is a going to be a inundation of messages today about being grateful and thankful.  I know that being thankful is a great way to be filled with joy.  But, I have also experienced such arid times in life where the reservoir of gratitude has shrunk to a meager puddle that pouring out seems impossible.  In desperation, I have exhaustively tried to conjure up deep wells from mere droplets.

Those parched times can set us searching for refreshment from basically any thing and anyone.  It can have us climbing over damp, jagged, moss covered rocks in an attempt to get into the water and under the waterfall.   Actions that make any mother imagine the damage the imminent slip is bound to cause.

"When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' 
your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.  
When anxiety was great within me, 
your consolation brought me joy."  
Psalm 94:18-19 (NIV)

Give Love Time

Pablo Picasso once said, “Love is the greatest refreshment in my life.”  

Like my children who arrange and rearrange their Lego blocks to shape and form different figures.  I began to move around my sticky notes in similar fashion.

If love is the greatest refreshment…what would happen if I put Webster’s definition of refreshment in place of the word refreshment in Picasso’s quote.  This is what I came up with:

Love is the greatest process of becoming rested and regaining strength or energy. 

You may want to reread that a few times, I know I sure did.  I had to pause and read it out loud.  This one sentence made me see something in a whole new way.

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  
God is love.  
Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in them." 
1 John 4:14 (NIV)

God is love.  God is the master of helping us to become rested, restoring our strength and energy.

Love is the greatest process of becoming rested and regaining strength or energy. 

What a sweet thought this is, one that I greatly desire to just soak in.  But in all its sweetness, there is one word that carries a bit of a sour sting. PROCESS.

In our instantaneously demanding world, the word process seems to be synonymous for long and tedious.  It is almost a fear inducing word that invokes images of pain.  I think we need to disconnect the negative emotions thoughts of a process invoke.  A process is only a series of actions that produce something or lead to a particular result.

What if we expand just a bit more our sentence by replacing the word process with its meaning.

Love is the greatest series of actions that result in becoming rested and regaining strength or energy.  

If we give love time, if we give God time, so that we may know Him and rely on Him, on the love He has for us.  Those actions will result in us living in love.  Whoever lives in love, lives in God.  The One who says:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? 
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. 
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. 
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. 
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 
Matthew 11:28-30 (Message)

Come.  Get away.  Recover.  Rest.  Walk.  Work.  Learn.

Keep company with the Lord and find yourself refreshed by Love.

Beloved Lord,

Thank You so much for calling me awake to this today.  Thank You for the this message.  You know that I need it probably more than anyone who reads these words of mine.  Lord, I also know that among fellowship joy is multiplied.  So may it be to Your glory that these words uplift and bring joy to others out there. 

This is my offering to You this thanksgiving day.  It comes from a place of dry, broken and cracked gratitude, but it is what I have so it is what I freely give.  May it be an action in a series that will produce rest, restored strength and energy. 

Lord, please bless the parched souls and achy hearts out there today.  Please help them to walk with You.  Lord, many of us may find ourselves in a place we would rather not be, longing for something different, longing for something more, longing to be with others, longing for something we had that is now gone. 

As we sit in these places it is a quick assumptive slide to believe that because we do not want to be where we are, that no one would want to be there either.  We can even assume that You are far from us.  Yet, there is no one closer to us, closer to our aches, pains, struggles and longings than You are.  You are so familiar with all of the intricate details because You have the perfect vision to see them all.  

Lord, pour Your love and refreshment into those aches, pains, struggles and longings.  Anoint us with Your oils of joy that bring relief to the dry, parched cracks in our lives.  Help us through the series of actions that will result in restoration and energy to continue down the paths You have for us.  

In the loving and refreshing name of Jesus, amen.   

 

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