Strength - Psalm 31
We recently visited Ruidoso, New Mexico which sits at an elevation higher than Denver, Colorado. The mountains around it are beautiful, and one day's adventure was to go to the Lincoln National Forest to hike a couple of trails. Hike at that elevation literally means hike, unlike taking a "hike" along the trails on the flatlands of the Great Plains or even Coastal Plains of Texas. The forest, still damaged by the fires a few years ago, is beautiful, but we hiked along a trail along the side of a mountain. My wife would say, "Should we take a rest?" to which I gladly replied, "Yes." I was in the lead, but I followed her lead as to when to stop and take breaks.
We usually stopped along the trail where there were rocks or fallen trees large enough to sit and to put down our things (camera and backpack). We would sip water, look around, and catch our breath. There was a level of solitude in that kind of surrounding providing a sense of serenity and peace.
This gave new meaning to David's call to God in Psalm 31, "In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;... Into your hands I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God." (1-5)
God is David's source of strength, his rock, fortress, refuge. In the mountains of New Mexico, we understood this passage of God being our rock and refuge, our source of strength to rest and to renew. For us, as believers, God sends his Holy Spirit to us to be our source of strength and renewal as well.
Paul's prayer speaks to us when we need this strength from God, our rock and fortress: "For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom ever family in heaven and on earth is named,, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and ground in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:14 - 19)
Hope Men's Ministry