When You Can’t Take the Heat…

by | Jul 7, 2016 | Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls

“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

I have a magnet from First Place 4 Health on my refrigerator that reads: “It’s not in here.”

It reminds me that often what I’m looking for when I open that door can’t be found on a shelf or in a drawer:

Food can’t bring me comfort, spiritual strength or nourishment, or relief from physical or emotional pain. It’s not an escape from difficult people or circumstances, unpleasant tasks or hard-to-face feelings. It doesn’t magically dissolve my hurt, anger, or frustration. It won’t give me control or power when I feel helpless to fix all the problems in my life or the lives of those I love, the crises going on in our country or around the world today.

No, what I’m looking for is not in the refrigerator.

It’s not on Amazon or Etsy either (or any of the other places I most like to shop, in real life or online). Or Pinterest. It’s not on any of shows I watch on TV or Netflix – or even in the books and magazines I read.

It’s not in the video games on my phone or iPad or any of the cute or funny YouTube videos I’ve seen.

It’s not in celebrity gossip – or church gossip – or family gossip.

It is most definitely not in the news or the urgent “must-read” blog posts, emails, and petitions my friends share, or the Facebook wars I stumble upon.

It’s not in the mirror or my belly button.

I see myself. I know myself. I do a lot of navel-gazing — but it doesn’t quench my spiritual thirst or satisfy my soul hunger.

When You Can't Take the Heat

I say all of this, because I know it’s true. I know all of these things do not do what I want them to – what I ask or expect them to, what they themselves often promise to do. But I forget all the time. Hence the magnet.

I forget, and I go running to this or that… looking for some comfort or relief, looking for some wisdom or direction, some hope or joy or peace.

And I can’t find it.

So I try something else… and then something else… and then another.

At best, the things I turn to are the equivalent of empty calories, with no nutritional value. They’re distractions. Time-wasters.

Sometimes they’re more like junk food – they’re not nutritionally neutral (or at least, their effect on me isn’t). They actually exacerbate the problem. They make me feel sluggish and miserable and grumpy. Demotivated to do what would actually help me.

And sometimes the things I turn to are downright toxic. Poisonous. And frankly, outright sin.

So like the Psalmist, I keep reminding myself — with magnets and bookmarks and blog posts and whatever else I can think of:

Where do I go?

Where do I go when I need comfort, strength, wisdom, hope, healing, peace? Where do I go when I need a Shelter, a Refuge, a Friend?

Where do I go when I can’t take the heat of the desert? When I’m dying of thirst?

I go to the Oasis. I go to the Spring of Living Water.

As Psalm 121 says, I lift my eyes (above my circumstances) to the hills (and to the One who made them – the Maker of Heaven and Earth), where my Help comes from…

I turn my eyes upon Jesus

I go to Him.

Can I be honest with you?

Sometimes if it’s been a while, I find it hard to get there. Not that He is hard to find or that He makes it difficult… but that when I reach the Oasis, I discover I’ve been drinking so much chemically-soda stuff, that I’ve lost my taste for Living Water.

I don’t get much out of it at first. It doesn’t seem all that satisfying. I’m tempted to run back out into the heat of the desert — back to the junk I tried before — which is madness!

But if I keep drinking deeply, by faith, pretty soon my taste buds are revived. All of my senses are revived. (I didn’t realize how dull they were.)

Suddenly I’m aware of His presence. I can feel His Hand, cooling my forehead. The gentle breeze of His Spirit….

The Water is so refreshing — it tastes like nothing in this world!

I hear His Voice and discover again that His Word is sweeter than the sweetest honey (Psalm 19:10).

This is it.

What I’m looking for, what I long for, what I need…

Where I go…

It’s Him.

It is Good for Me to Draw Near Psalm 73

Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® Assignment

We’re in  our third week of our free online summer Bible study, Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® ~ Summer in the Psalms. If you’re participating, these are your instructions for this week…

Choose your reading plan:

1)  Soaking in the Psalms ~ Savor 4 Psalms a week.  This week’s Psalms are Psalm 51, 63, 65, and 73.

2)  Surfing through the Psalms ~ Read through the entire book of Psalms during our six-week study. This week, read Psalms 51-75(which includes the “Soaking” Psalms — see above).

Reflection Questions: Answer these questions in a journal, in your heart, or in a group (if you’re meeting with friends to do this study together).

  1. The Scripture tells us God already sees everything, knows everything about us and our hearts. So what is the point of a confession like Psalm 51? Why is confession “good for the soul”?
  2. Take a few minutes to listen to these songs from Michael Kelly Blanchard: I Love You, I Do, You Bet and Holy Land of the Broken Heart and / or let me read Psalm 51 to you during your quiet time this week. (There are two other songs you might enjoy, linked in the post above :) )
  3. Have you experienced consciously “changing the channel in your head” — like the Psalmist, choosing to shifting your gaze, turning to Jesus in the midst of a temptation, a difficult day or trying circumstance? If you have, how did you do it? What happened? How could you remind yourself to run to the Oasis, to the Spring of Living Water this week?

Memory Verse: This week’s verse is Psalm 63:5 NLT ~ It’s in the graphic in Monday’s post and on our VBS Pinterest board.

Just joining us? You can catch up by reading past posts on our Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® Archive page or by hitting the “back” button at the bottom of this post and scrolling through. Or jump in where we are now.

Next week, we’ll be having a special giveaway… stay tuned for details!