Taking road trips with my husband is perhaps my favorite thing to do these days. We both work a lot of hours and combined with our long commutes, our work weeks tend to be exhausting. So getting away together and exploring is a way for us to refresh and come back to the tasks of our daily life with a renewed energy. We sometimes take turns planning our destinations; on our most recent trip it was Tim’s turn to pick the destination. We had 5 days off and he decided on the upper peninsula of Michigan, a popular fall getaway for many.
Specifically, we chose Copper Harbor, Michigan as our destination. Copper Harbor is a small community tucked in a picturesque harbor on the Keweenaw peninsula, which juts out into the southern part of Lake Superior. The mesmerizing sound of the waves, a shoreline landscape filled with bronze and copper leaves in brilliant golden hues interspersed with rich green pines covering vast rolling hills entices me to an imagined life of writing on cold days with a warm fire in the hearth. With dark clouds overhead and waves crashing along a rocky shore, I indulge in my writer’s fantasy immersed in the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. I feel his promise of renewal surrounding me and I am reminded that spiritual renewal is vital to my journey through the destinations of daily life.
Just off the shore of Copper Harbor is the wreck of the John Jacob Astor. Claimed to be the oldest wreck in Lake Superior, it was in 1844 that she became stranded on the rocks in severe winter weather that battered the hull until she broke apart along the rocky shoreline. Like this ship we, too, can become stranded and desperate, floundering on the rocks and finding ourselves feeling we are in great peril. But God’s word reminds us that the light within us, God’s light, can save us. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed but not driven to despair.” (2 Corinthians 4:8)
A literal definition of renewal is the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken. Who hasn’t felt “worn out, run-down, or broken? In times like these we need to be refreshed from the craziness and the turmoil of this world. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, as I do at times, especially in the midst of the political craziness that we are all experiencing, we can look to God’s word to illuminate how we may be renewed in our spirit.
Through the prophet, Isaiah, God reveals how he can lift us up out of the angry seas, strengthen us, and guide us in our journey. “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40: 31) No troubled sea and no treacherous water’s edge can pierce the protective shelter of our soul when we are aligned with, and trusting in, the Lord.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.” (Psalm 19:7.) God understands the weariness that we can all experience living in a fallen world. He wants us to spend time in His word so that we can get the vital refreshing of spirit that we need to endure in the world. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) If you feel overwhelmed and drained by your present circumstances and feel like you are drowning in negative thoughts, or that you will perish on the rocky shoreline of your life, then it is time for a renewed perspective. By spending time in the Bible, we can grow in our discernment and restore our mind to His vantage point.
When I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, or feel depressed by my circumstances, or just drained by the daily grind of life, that’s a signal to me that I need to immerse myself in God’s Word. By returning to the source of my strength, I can find that spirit-lifting energy and shelter that I need. Renewing my spirit puts me back in safe waters and I can take in all that I see around me knowing that the Spirit of God keeps me protected and strengthened in an ever-changing sea of life’s circumstances. You, too, can experience the comfort that only comes from God, just say a prayer and open your Bible and you will find your safe harbor.
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