Thanksgiving. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word? Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods? Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel? Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances? These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thankfulness”. I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.
Here is day twenty with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful that God is our refuge and ever-present help in time of need.
Thankful For a Refuge
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV)
Today I am thankful for a God who is my refuge and strength. When I read from the book of James, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.”, the above passage from Psalms always comes to my mind. I’m pretty good at finding myself in trouble, often of my own doing, and I would guess I’m not alone in that. Prayer is an incredible privilege of joining in conversation with God in such a way that fear begins to melt away. When it feels like my feet have been knocked out from under me and it is impossible to stand, God is still there as a foundation to stand upon. When everything familiar has disappeared and the landmarks of life have vanished, God is still standing strong in His love as He beckons me to come home. When the waters of life are tossing me to and fro, God lifts my head above the waters and holds me to Himself. And when the things I thought were solid begin to shake and crumble, God stands firm as the rock of my salvation.
As I reflect back on so many conversations from the missions conference, nearly all of the stories shared with me of God working through the prayers offered in faith began the same way. They began with both a need and a series of attempts by people to resolve that need in their own strength. While it would be great if we would learn to go to God first in our time of need, as the stories unfolded it appeared that we often need to reach a point of desperation before we turn to God. I am thankful that God waits patiently, even as He longs for us to turn to Him much earlier in the process. Even when prayer is used as our last resort after trying everything else, God is still faithful in hearing us and being the ever-present help in our time of need. I am thankful that God’s faithfulness leads me to growth as I continually learn to trust Him earlier in the process and admit much more readily that I can’t do it and I need Him.
As you pray, thank God for being your refuge in times of trouble. Pray that you would grow in your practice of turning to Him in all circumstances. Pray that you would help others know God as their refuge.
I pray that you and I would know God as our refuge and strength in times of trouble . . . and in times that we’re unaware of trouble. I pray that we would allow God to use our repeated attempts to do life on our own to teach us just how much we need Him in everything. I pray that we would continually learn to call out to God as our first course of action rather than waiting until we’ve exhausted ourselves in trying to do life on our own.