Some men from our church home regularly meet for breakfast every Friday. Recently, one of the guys was diagnosed with bone cancer. As you can imagine, this news was a fierce blow to him and his family. Many people have joined in asking the Father for his healing. If you feel led, please remember him in your prayers.
I usually share a very brief devotional while we wait for our food. Today, I used this passage:
Then I asked what happens to us when we find shade from the heat. The first response was, “Relax!” This picture helped all of us around the table to see shade as a metaphor for hope for our dear brother and all of us.
Lately, the weather where we live has been staggeringly hot. Just a few minutes outside saps our strength. The heat compels us to go back inside. It disrupts our summer plans. Likewise, the heat from disease can easily crush us, but God has given us a promise with a history.
Notice what the prophet Isaiah says about God: “You have been.” That’s history. It is not “You will be;” something that will happen somewhere in the future. I like that history. The promises in verse four have stood the test of time, and they are still for us.
God has been a stronghold (fortress, castle) for the poor and the needy in distress. God has been a shelter from the storms of life. And God has been the shade from the heat. These promises are from God for us, and history has proved them.
Now here is an important point. When we enter a fortress or a shelter, we quickly become relaxed; anxiety leaves. The stronghold of Jesus exchanges our fear and frustration with a peace that transcends human comprehension.
When we come into (abide) in Jesus, we become refreshed and re-hydrated by His living water. Lastly, the shade of Jesus renews us. When we are relaxed and refreshed, we can escape the heat that withers life; under Christ’s shade, we become renewed.
Isaiah 25:4 reminds me of another of God’s promises:
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
– Proverbs 18:10 ESV
It is not necessary for the redeemed of the LORD to be fearful, anxious, or depressed by the troubles that come to us from the world. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) Claim the promises of God so that regardless of the trouble you can be relaxed, refreshed, and renewed.
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