Do you ever wish you could escape yourself?
One of my favorite devotional books is God Calling. It was edited by A.J. Russell, but it is reported to be direct messages from God to two women known only as “The Two Listeners.” It was originally published in 1935. It is arranged in 365 daily readings.
The message for November 30th struck me: “You can get away from others into the quiet of your own mind, but from yourself, from the sense of your failure, your weakness, your sins and shortcomings, whither do you flee?”
Since March of 2020 many of us have not had the issue of getting away from others. To the contrary, we are isolated from the day-to-day social interactions that nourish us, delight us, and frustrate us in turn. There has been far too little to distract us from the march of fear, self-judgement, and negativity that tramples across our minds. There have been many reports of the impact of lockdowns and seclusion. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide have all increased as some have sought to escape themselves. It’s one of the biggest tragedies of the pandemic.
Yet, nearly a century ago, the Two Listeners recorded God’s answer to this dilemma. They quote Deuteronomy 33:27, “The Eternal God is thy refuge.”
Flee to the Eternal God, the meditation urges, “till in His Immensity you forget your smallness, meanness, limitations.” In this way, it continues, “you absorb the Divine and absorbing gain strength to conquer.
The irony is, you find this comfort in exactly the place of your torment–inside the quiet of your own mind. If you are a believer in Christ, you have a choice. Listen to your own thoughts, or tune into those of the Holy Spirit, Who lives in you. Too often, our own thoughts are taken captive by “the accuser of the brethren”—that ancient foe who is bent on our destruction. But when we listen to the Spirit, It speaks Life and Peace (Romans 8:6).
One of the best ways to tune into the Spirit is to meditate on Scripture. For the last few weeks, we have been magnifying the Lord through a series called Make God Bigger. It examined the awesome character and promises of God, including scriptural references so you can go to those posts for ideas. Psalm 103 is also a wonderful passage for this purpose. It is not too long, but clearly lists and praises the benefits of our God. Our minds are created to think only one thought at a time, so focusing on any of these verses can stop the crazy recording on continual loop in your heart and transport you to the refuge of the Eternal Father.
The Listeners only give the beginning of Deuteronomy 33:27, but the entire verse is so comforting, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” God is still calling. Let Him be your strong tower today.