Refresh: to give new energy and strength to someone.Cambridge Dictionary
I love the word, refresh. I usually think of a glass of iced lemonade on a hot summer day when I hear the word, refresh. The cold in the midst of the heat. While there can be the sweet refreshment in the hot heat, there can be joy in the trials, thanksgiving in the sorrow, and peace in the chaos. These can coexist.
I think there are many people in the Bible that we can see who allow these feelings to coexist in the seasons that they are in. Paul found joy in his trials. Job found strength to walk in obedience with God in his pain. Jeremiah had confidence and faith in his times of sorrow when watching the people of Judah go against God.
We can be faced with many mixed emotions throughout each season that we walk in. However, God does not stop and leave us dry when we hit the wall of pain, hurt, heartache, and sorrow. He offers refreshment and nourishment to us through those seasons so that we can continue to move forward in relationship with Him, to grow and gain wisdom.
Recently, in my women’s study, we have been talking about lamenting. While growing up in the church, I really did not come to know what lamenting was until the past year. I think throughout generations and cultures, Christians get into this habit of “putting up their walls with each other”, which is an attitude that can carry over into our personal relationships with Christ. We fall into this illusion that in order to mature in our faith, we must become fully self-sufficient.
“God wants to help us tear down the very ways in which we’ve trusted ourselves and built defensive fortresses around our heart toward Him.”Grace From Head to Heart – Gordon C. Bals
When I hold back my vulnerability and honestly with God, it is as if I am approaching Him with chains on. I don’t feel the freedom to be myself or say fully what I am feeling inside. Guilt and shame can have that effect on me, to where I don’t feel that is it “okay” to speak to God about my darker emotions. However, groaning and lamenting allows the Holy Spirit to work in us, coming to God with our chains fully gone. When this happens, He offers us an abundance of grace and freedom, that breaks down the walls and allow us to feel fully seen, loved, and known by Him.
This is refreshment. Being vulnerable, raw, and honest with the Lord can be hard and painful, but it leads us to finding greater strength, grace, and mercy in God. Through this, the Holy Spirit offers us the strength to continue to guide us in obedience, faithfulness, and surrender to God.
I pray that you can find some refreshment in the season of life that you find yourself in. I pray that you can notice how joy, peace, love, and kindness are coexisting in the trials, pain, and heartache. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you to have honesty and vulnerability with the Lord, allowing you to live fully seen, heard, and known by Him.
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