Have you ever needed a place to “hole up” for a bit? I am reminded of those old western movies where the outlaws had a hide-out, kind of a stronghold or refuge where they could hide from the law and be safe from arrest. Even further back, David and his men had strongholds in the wilderness to protect them from capture by Saul’s forces. Jesus often retreated to the wilderness to avoid the crowds and to get some rest.

From outlaws to the Messiah, we find that a place to retreat to is important. For you it may be your home, or a place in your home where you can be alone, or in the comfort of close friends or family. You may be the kind that needs that kind of intimate encouragement (and I think we all are) every so often to keep you “sane”.

I had a conversation with a person not long ago who had no such place, whose life flitted from work to home to bars and the bed. This person never had a respite, a safe place to vent or unwind. And over time, this person’s soul was slowly worn away, until this person was in a kind of survival mode, just doing what needed to be done to get by. It is a hardscrabble way to live. And I don’t think Jesus intended us to live that way.

As Jesus once said, “take my yoke upon you, for my burden is light”. More than this, God intended us to take Him as our refuge, because this world offers few places for refuge away from evil. Sometimes even the church is no refuge from wicked plans and evil people, and I admit that with both experience and sorrow. But not every church is like this, don’t misunderstand. I have had some of the best, most profound experiences in the presence of other believers, and even in the midst of people I didn’t like.

So may I encourage you to find that place of solace and of rest, even if it is to pause in your day, acknowledge the Lord above, and give Him thanks. Prayer doesn’t have to be located anywhere special, but it alone can be a powerful place of rest. Your soul needs it.

Heavenly Father, I know that today, I need to make You my place of solace and rest. I know that the only place I can rest is in Your presence. Lord may I descend into prayer as I would be cradled by Your powerful protective arms, to hold me as my soul needs restorative strength. I pray Lord Jesus to hold me close so that I may weather the strains and pressures of life. Thank You Lord for being my refuge. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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