It’s retreat weekend for the women’s ministry of our church! This means 600+ women will gather in one room to learn and laugh and miraculously, when the heart needs it most, God will make this number feel very small, This year’s theme is REFUGE. And it is just like God that the idea of this theme was given to us as we Houstonians call it, “Pre-Harvey.”
I was thinking today about those talk shows when they interview a celebrity with a new book or album. Or the “favorite things” episodes. You know the ones. The times where “everyone in the audience today will receive a copy of (fill in the blank)…” The audience, comprised of mostly, I would argue, people who don’t really know the artist prior to the day of the show, seemingly come UNGLUED at the thought of receiving something related to this interviewee–no matter how nominal–for free. This level of excitement, most often unmatched to the actual offer, is quite humorous to watch.
The women at the retreat this weekend will learn about and receive refuge. But what if that is all the event could offer? Refuge or retreat for a weekend? Thankfully, there’s a forever takeaway. This weekend is going to be great, but the refuge extends beyond these precious hours. Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is your refuge.” Throughout the Bible, we see a significant theme of truth: God is not only the provider of refuge, He IS it. He came up with it, He gives it, He is it Himself.
Can you see how this is so much more than taking a selfie with someone famous, or even being gifted something from someone with esteem or prestige? This is God Himself being your refuge.
Refuge is so important because it can mean perfect peace for those who know they have it, and it can be a huge cause of anxiety if someone feels they do not have one.
This summer I took a few pictures of places I love and had the opportunity to visit. Places where I felt fed emotionally, physically– and where I could really let my hair down. This is one of those places:
This is my friend’s house–a friend who has poured into me for almost two decades. She hasn’t always lived in a Victorian palace. My “refuge” with her has taken all sorts of views over the years. I guess my definition of refuge is a place where my worries cascade down because I have someone to share them with. It’s the same with the Lord. My refuge can be anywhere because He is there. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
The forever takeaway.
Now that’s something I could go wild over. Astonishingly, it’s for everyone who reserved a seat for this weekend…as well as everyone else.
“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth” Psalm 145:18 (NIV).
Available refuge for ALL.
The following is a note from my Littles:
Thank you for reading about Refuge. And remember God loves you!