Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunday Lectionary Devotions: 4th Sunday in Lent - Lent 4 - March 14

Psalm 32:7              You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Do you ever get that feeling that you want to run away from all of your responsibilities and go hide somewhere? I did that when I was twelve. Things in my home were unbearable, so I decided to run away.

I had just read the book, "My Side of the Mountain" written by Jean Craighead George, which is all about a young boy, Sam Gribley, who walks away from his home and ends up in the Catskill mountains. He endures blizzards, hunters, and loneliness, but his fierce will to survive and independent spirit overcomes them all. He even befriends a falcon and a weasel in the process.

I really enjoyed the book and I thought I could run away just like Sam, and survive off the land. I headed out to the Campsie Hills above Glasgow, Scotland and when I reached an isolated area, I built myself a shack made out of trees and branches, ferns and mud. I thought it was wonderful and the best thing I had ever built. But then it started to rain, and pretty soon I was soaked through to the skin. I shivered for about thirty minutes and then decided to go back home. All I could think about was having a hot bath and a hot meal. So much for my adventure!

When David writes about God being his hiding place, he's talking about a spiritual haven and a place to retreat within himself. Nowadays, we would probably call it 'having a quiet time with God'. In midst of our busy schedules and especially the pandemonium that leads up to Christmas, we all need hiding places and quiet times with the Lord. By taking time to read these scriptures, devotionals and prayers, we are making steps in the right direction.

So, find for yourself a hiding place to be with God today. In those precious moments, you will rediscover His protection and love, His comfort and strength.

Personal Prayer:    Almighty God, You know everything about me. You know all my insecurities and fears, my anxieties and troubles. Help me to hide within You, to rediscover my dependence upon You and to experience renewal in my heart and soul. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. He writes the devotional and art blog "Heaven's Highway."

Today's image is one of John's uniquely created impressionistic art pieces. It's called "Midnight Tulips" and depicts a field of Spring tulips beside a Dutch Windmill beneath a playful moon. A larger version can be seen here:

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