Our family traveled to Ohio last week for a family reunion. We thought it would be fun to take the kids to Cedar Point, the greatest amusement park in the nation. I am not a huge roller coaster fan, and have been warned to avoid them to prevent a detached retina. I invited a dear friend of mine and her son to join us so I’d have someone to talk to while the others rode the rides.
The day was screaming hot – like my daughter on the Millennium (a roller coaster which drops 80 degrees in 3 seconds with a twist)! Despite the heat, we had a great day of non-stop fun from the park’s open to close.
Amazingly, Grandpa Bush rode all the rides, except the last one, the Dragster – a roller coaster that takes off and hits 120 miles/hr in 4 seconds…spirals straight up, arches, and drops spiraling straight down. (I think they are a little crazy to ride it! And I was thankful my youngest had my husband by her side!)
My friend and I rode the more conservative rides, like the awesome Sky Ride! We had plenty of time to talk about everything from healthy eating to parenting teenagers while we waited for the rest of the group to finish their rides. While we waited, at every opportunity we sought refuge in the shade from the oppressive heat. I kept trying to get a good picture of the kids when the shade was not so available. By midday the heat was zapping our energy. We were drenched, and it wasn’t from the Snake River Falls coaster ride!
On the Sky Ride, I saw the beach of Lake Erie. Does it surprise you that the view drew me to seek out the breeze on the boardwalk by the park? I thought it would be a great place to rest, so we found a bench in the shade with a view of the beach. The breeze cooled us off, and for at least an hour in the mid-afternoon heat we just sat and talked. It was a little heaven on earth to be away from the screams, people, and the heat.
The next morning I read in my devotion, “O LORD… You have been… a shade from the heat” (Isaiah 25:1, 4). At the park, we certainly experienced the refuge that shade brings! As I pondered the verse, I thought about my sweet friend who has been so positive during her battle to overcome cancer; she never complained about the heat, or her body aching, yet I know the shade brought such relief. I worried that I dragged her around the park way too much and way too long, but she never chose to stay put when I offered for her to stay in the shade while I walked to get food, etc.
God has been my courageous friend’s shade from her oppressive “heat.” Amazingly, she has responded with great hope and strength in the midst of uncertainty. She is beautiful inside and out as she puts her trust in God.
What is it you are struggling to overcome? What trial have you been waiting to be lifted? What is your oppressive “heat?” Turn to the Lord and seek his shade. Open his Word and let his Spirit encourage you. Pray as you read over scriptures like Isaiah 40 or Psalm 20. Let him be your answer, your comfort from the complications of life.
My heart was so grateful for the refuge of the shade! I know yours will be too!