“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” John 10:10 (NLT).
When my sister and I were young, we would spend many weekends at my Grandmother’s house. There were so many happy, fond memories of my time spent at Grandma’s. Whether it was listening to her many albums on the record player that she always happily let me play, or playing with the homemade play dough she would make, so I could create my own doughy masterpieces – Grandma always made her home a safe, enjoyable place where I was free to just… BE.
In the evening, before it was time to go to sleep, my Grandma would let my sister and I lay on her bed while she gently scratched our backs. She had such a tender, gentle touch and she would do this until we were practically asleep. I remember thinking to myself how tired her hands must’ve been getting, while secretly hoping she would not stop. Now, looking back, I think it was her sweet, loving way of letting us know it was getting time to go to bed. There were very few places in my childhood where I remembering feeling that secure, safe and loved.
In Deuteronomy, Chapters 16 through 20, Moses gives instruction on many laws God establishes to protect His people. Specifically, in Chapter 19, we learn about the “Cities of Refuge.” These are cities God establishes, in order to provide a place of protection to those accused of murder until they are able to be tried fairly for their crime. “Survey the territory, and divide the land the Lord your God is giving you into three districts, with one of these cities in each district. Then anyone who has killed someone can flee to one of the cities of refuge for safety” (Deuteronomy 19:3 (NLT).
During this time, it was not uncommon for a person to take revenge on another whom they believed committed murder. It was God’s intent to protect those accused of murder. In Joshua Chapter 20, God explains, “Anyone who kills another person accidentally and unintentionally can run to one of these cities; they will be places of refuge from relatives seeking revenge for the person who was killed” Joshua 20:3 (NLT).
This is a beautiful illustration of how much God cares about our protection. He provides a place of rest and of solitude to those who may be accused unfairly. However hard it might be for us to relate to this scenario in our own lives, we do have an accuser that we face every day. There is an enemy trying to use his power to turn our attention away from our protector – the One whom we should be running to when faced with a problem. That enemy is Satan. We should not be fooled at the power Satan has in our lives. Our only protection from Satan’s evil schemes is to turn to the only One who can protect us from them.
Just like my time spent with Grandma, I need to rest in God’s protection. When I feel wronged or treated unfairly, it is tempting to want to “attack” my accuser or to act out in some negative way. But, is this honoring God? In holding grudges, inciting blame, aren’t I doing exactly what the enemy wants?
My only protection is to rest in God. I can do this by praying, reading in the Word and worshipping Him. When I am faced with a situation where I feel mistreated or wronged, it is much easier to accept and let go of my feelings of anger and resentment, in order to come to a place of acceptance and forgiveness. That kind of power is something the enemy cannot destroy, because that kind of power comes from God. It also gives me a tremendous feeling of freedom, because I am not letting others dictate how I feel about myself.
I have noticed that the more time I spend in prayer and in reading the Word, I begin to feel that same kind of peace and security I felt resting with Grandma at bedtime. If I take the time to rest in Him, then I am protected and heard.
Heavenly Father, thank you for always making Yourself available and for providing a safe place for me to rest at any time I need it. Please help me to always seek comfort and rest in You and not from myself, others or the things of this world. Thank you for the wonderful blessing my Grandma was to me in my life. Let me never forget her example of love and how it mirrors the kind of love you always wish for me to have in my life. Help others to seek Your comfort and protection in their lives when they need to and help me to be a better example of Christ’s love in theirs. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.