Do you remember times when you were completely refreshed by events, people, food or circumstances? I remember once being very dehydrated during a bad case of the flu. I longed for a bottle of Gatorade. I tried water and juice but it just wasn't right. When I was finally well enough to go to the store I guzzled the first bottle of Gatorade as soon as I reached the car. I don't remember ever drinking something so refreshing and satisfying.
Perhaps you've been cooped up in an office all day working steadily. The air has become stale, just like you have. When you finally drag your weary body home, you step outside into a sunny, 20 degree North Dakota day. The breeze smacks your face and you inhale the fresh air deeply. You're suddenly much more awake. Refreshed, you look forward to your evening plans.
Or consider this situation. You've had a grueling week that seemed like it would never end. Then Friday arrives and the calendar is empty. You settle down with the family for games, hot chocolate, popcorn and some hearty laughter. When you drop into bed, a deep sigh escapes your lips as you say, "That was such a refreshing change of pace after my stressful week."
Consider yet another source of refreshment. "He (God) refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake" Psalm 23:3. Refreshment that comes from his guidance can reach all the way to our soul! That is deep refreshment. However, I think we tend to be pretty independent believing that we can handle things alone rather than seeking guidance. That doesn't always work.
I once had a 5 month job for the chair of a business department in a small university. My initial job description was; "Put all my files in order." Wanting to be helpful, I started sifting through file cabinets and piles of papers and materials on shelves and was soon completely overwhelmed. I was new to the area. I didn't know the courses this professor taught, or the content of each course. I didn't know what was needed or how material would be used so I didn't know how to categorize all that information. I knew that I needed guidance so I asked for it. Because they had many visiting faculty, I was first asked to read through all the student evaluations of all the professors who'd taught courses over the last couple of years. I was then to create a summary of the effectiveness of each professor. I had the freedom to create the kind of summary I wanted, but I had guidance. I felt renewed and refreshed as I headed into work over the next several days. Not only was I actually finishing something, I was getting rid of large piles of papers from that office. The guidance continued and I began to feel more comfortable with my assignment. By the end of those 5 months, I had organized the files to the professors liking!
Just as the professor's directions refreshed me in my work, the guidance from the Lord through the Bible can refresh us. How do we begin? "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord," Acts 3:19-20 ESV Seek the Lord for soul refreshing guidance.
Helen McCormack writes the Reflections column every six weeks. She and her husband, David, are serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Germany.