Week 36 Friday

Roar and Refuge

Today’s scripture selection: Joel

Key verses: Joel 3:16

“The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble.  But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.”

It’s all a matter of perspective.

If seen from the side of those who have opposed God – and tormented the people of Israel – the LORD’s visage is a frightening sight indeed.

One thinks of a savage lion or tiger; a ferocious beast of the jungle on a ravenous rampage or a devastating thunderstorm looming just over the horizon.

But seen from the side of those have been oppressed – the people who have suffered the injustice and pain of foreign enemies – God appears in a much different way.  Here, God is the rescue; the place of refuge; the long awaited hope.

And so we see the two sides of God.

Holy and righteous; just and formidable in judgment – yet compassionate and caring as well.

This doesn’t just have national ramifications – it has very real personal ones as well.

God is not to be taken lightly.  He is powerful; omnipotent; omnipresent; omniscient.  God is awesome in the best sense of that word.

But God is also the One in whom we can find rest and “peace that passeth all understanding.”

For some that is puzzling indeed.  But I find it very, very comforting.

Prayer: Almighty – and all loving God – I praise and thank you for being the truly awesome God you are.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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