How’s the weather where you are today? Hot and sunny? Cool and crisp? No matter the temperature, it’s a great time to seek a little shade.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 – NIV
My husband and I are relatively new to the camping world, but one of the lessons we have learned is that it’s all about the shade. The more shade you have at your campsite, the more comfortable it is to hang outside in camp chairs. This is particularly true on sticky summer afternoons in the humid Southeast.
On our little travel trailer, we have a nice sized awning that we can roll out with the mere push of a button, but the awning cannot hold a candle to the blissful shade of a thick grove of trees. If you can’t get a grove of trees, then one well endowed shade tree will do the trick. State parks are typically well stocked with trees even though sometimes navigating around those trees can be a challenge.
Still, there are times that a commercial RV park has its advantages such as full hook ups or proximity to a sight of interest. While some of these campgrounds have good sized trees, many do not. Often, the only option is to queue up in your assigned row and put out your awning.
That was the situation I found myself in the other day. The angle of the sun wasn’t bad in the morning. The awning worked well at mid-day, but in the early evening when I wanted to sit outside, the awning couldn’t shelter me from the melting hot sun. The angle of the sun was pointed right at me. The awning couldn’t hide me from the heat anymore.
This got me thinking about my approach to problem solving. Sometimes, when problems arise, my initial response is to run and hide. It’s like I move my chair to the other side of the camper so I don’t have to deal with the problem shining down on me. I admit it. I am not above denial, but that response solves nothing. No matter where I move next, the problem can still find me.
More often than not though, I move into “fix it” mode when a problem assails me. I am a born “do-er” so shifting into action mode is a fairly typical reaction. My nursing assessment background kicks in, and I quickly move into analysis mode. I sort through a list of solutions and tear off after my top pick.
But here’s the thing. Just like that awning, my forthright sense of self-sufficiency only goes so far. I can roll that awning of action out there, but eventually, I run out of my canvas cover. I might solve the minor stuff, but when it comes to the big stuff, my solutions fall short.
That’s when I turn to God. “O Lord, help me!” When my solutions fail, I run for the shadow of His wings. I seek His refuge. I beg for His help. My prayers are now full of petition, but my priorities are out of order.
God wants to be first. He wants us to love him first and foremost. He wants us to worship Him above all else. He wants us to seek Him first, instead of sending out our own search party for solutions. God doesn’t want us to rely on our own self-sufficiency. He wants us to rely on Him.
Now I am not saying that self reliance is to be condemned. No, in my book, the current culture of entitlement is abhorrent. I am all about a strong work ethic and a willingness to be part of the solution,. In my humble opinion, a healthy dose of self motivation is admirable.
It’s just that when we rely solely on our own self-sufficiency, we leave God out of the equation. We turn away from His leading. We follow our own path, and it’s a short hike to the slippery slope of idolatry. Without even a conscious effort, we make an idol out of our own intelligence or resources or self determination. Pride steps in, and you know what the good book says about that. Yep, pride goes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18).
In the challenging problems of this life,self sufficiency often falls short and leaves us stressed. Our resources run out before our problems do. Then we run for God. But how much better would it be if we sought the shade of God first. Like the awning I can only go so far on my own before my resources run out. But there is a better way. The Word of God tells us, “ “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, NIV). No matter the issue at hand or how far I roam, God follows me, more than willing to offer shade and sustanance. All I have to do is reach out. Request His help first and trust that He will work all things together for good in due time.
Friends, there is an infinite source of shade just waiting for us to seek. Lay your troubles before The Lord and claim the shady spot of peace that cannot be found anywhere else.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
Psalm 61:4 – NIV
O Lord God Almighty, we run to You. We long for the shelter of Your wings. This life is hard, full of problems and peril, and so often, we try to solve those problems on our own. We fail to seek you first and then stumble around in the quagmire of our own making. Forgive us, Lord, and help us seek You first. May we trust You with everything and exalt You above all else.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus, we pray,
-APS 9/27 /2021