Shelter from the Storm
The wind is still howling this morning for the third straight day. It’s wild and seemingly out of control. The waves before me are tossing in a furry. The angst of the water is on full display in the storm. The lake is angry. It has no shelter from the storm.
The wind has also brought forth beauty. Leaves cascade from the trees, floating in the wind. Their multitudes of colors rain down from the branches. There is beauty here. I experience peace and calm as I gaze at the leaves floating around me.
Two sides to the wind. Anger on the water and peace in the floating leaves. Two perspectives coexist together, one a storm and one of calm.
The word sanctuary has been stuck in my mind lately. God often draws my attention to a word and then weaves it into my life in all manners. I’ve encountered the word “sanctuary” in the book of Psalms over the last few weeks. It’s popped up in sermons and worship songs as well. I know God is trying to teach me something when this happens.
I’ve always thought of God’s sanctuary as a place we go to find peace and refuge from the everyday. Whether that day is challenging or mundane, we go to Him to find relief, rest and refreshment. A place where we can find calm amid the storms of life. An oasis from the daily.
According to merriam-webster.com, a sanctuary is a consecrated place; the temple; a place for worship; a place of refuge and protection. Think of it as an oasis from whatever it is that is causing angst in our souls. It’s the space where we find rest in our weariness.
This space can vary from person to person. It might be our place of worship or a special chair in our home. For some, it’s an outdoor garden, a walk outside in nature or a coffee shop where we go for quiet. Maybe it’s a journal, our Bible, poetry or worship music.
There are many ways and places we go to find sanctuary from the everyday. As a follower of Jesus, He is the place we run to when looking for refuge from something in our life.
God himself is our sanctuary. Our refuge and oasis.
He is where we find the strength and courage to meet the day. When we are with Him, we find the peace we seek.
The Bible promises that the Holy Spirit is in us. From that perspective, God’s sanctuary is already within us. Whether the storm is raging around us or in the mundane of daily life, the peace and calm we seek are available immediately within us. We can turn to Him in the moment and draw on the refuge He offers to find the peace we need. We don’t need to wait and draw away to be alone.
The sanctuary we seek is available now.
God asks us to “pray continually” ( 1 Thes 5:17), which means to talk with Him at all times, sharing what is happening in our hearts. (I admit, this is not so easy for me.) But, when we do, He helps us in our weakness, providing strength and protection along the way. He leads our hearts and minds to the refuge we so desperately need.
In the broadest sense, we carry the sanctuary of God with us daily. This a great reminder as we look ahead to the holiday season. As we find the season ramping up, we can turn to Him and find refuge from the pressures we experience as we prepare to celebrate Jesus in our homes.
Do you have a plan to help you find refuge this December?
I’d love to help you experience the sanctuary our Lord provides this Christmas. My devotional Reclaiming Christmas Joy, was designed to help you experience refreshment and joy during December. You can buy copies directly from me or on Amazon. And if you are local, I’m happy to deliver them to your door. As an added bonus, this year I am offering a FREE companion journal to help you encounter Jesus during the holidays. For more information, click here.
Today I’d like to leave you with this beautiful Psalm to help you connect with the Lord. Please take a deep breath before you begin reading it. I pray it provides you with an oasis from your day.
O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.