Times of refreshment


Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. — Acts 3:1-21

When the last hay bale hit its mark in the withering, dust-filled barn, we took our scratched-up dehydrated selves straight to the water pump.

We pulled up the bright red handle and waited for that wondrously clear and cold water to pour out.

There are few words that capture the impact of that water rushing over our steaming heads and down our parched throats.

Satisfying, for sure.

Restoring, yes.

Life-giving, absolutely.

A powerful time of refreshment.

Peter had just been used by the Lord to bring about just such a moment to a man who had labored with paralysis his entire life.

He healed him.

A life of begging, a life of unfulfilled dreams ended in a moment as his legs strengthened.

He stood up and walked.

Refreshed in a way that few others could understand, he jumped and danced and praised God! Peter turned to the parched souls all around him and cried out, “Turn from sin! Turn to God!”

We are all longing for refreshment.

From the moment humanity turned from God, a thirst was unleashed.

One day, Jesus looked into the eyes of a woman at a well who was acutely aware of her need for refreshment and told her he could give her living water.

She drank and revived.

God has made refreshment possible for us all.

To fully take hold of it, we must walk away from all distractions, turn, and then walk towards him.

Life in the dark

My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave. I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. — Psalm 143:1-12

The darkness below the surface of the earth is a completely different kind of darkness.

It’s suffocating.

Having crawled around in a few of the caves in Indiana, I found them more than a little unnerving.

I remember pausing regularly to take deep breaths to keep from hyperventilating.

The one redeeming feature of the adventure was the exit. What a glorious moment when the darkness gave way to the bright sunshine and fresh air!

In this Psalm of David, we recognize some of the references to his experience on the run, hiding in darkness “like those in the grave.”

He was hopeless.

He was paralyzed with fear.

He was parched, thirsty for God.

These descriptors are not foreign to any of us. The realities of this life refuse to give any of us a pass on dark days.

David resolved to cry out to the only one he knew could rescue him from his deepening depression and certain extinction.

The darkness of depression, grief, pain of all kinds, broken relationships, shattered dreams, abuse and rejection is thick and paralyzing.

We can get stuck there or we can, like David, give ourselves to God and walk where he shows us to walk.

The love God has shown in sending Jesus to rescue us from our sin, guilt and shame compels us to come.

God never says the dark of this life isn’t a big deal, he just says he’s bigger.

With Jesus, brighter days lie ahead.

Tom Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.

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