Four playgrounds in five days.
Last week, the forecast finally felt like spring. Spring! Sunshine, warmth, sun, blue skies and more sun. I could almost feel my vitamin D levels rising.
I packed some snacks, sunscreen and a Batman hat for my son and we visited playgrounds all week. Anytime we could go, we went. We walked to the playground in our neighborhood, we stopped in at the playground in our hometown, then we picked up my daughters from school and drove directly to a playground half an hour away just to enjoy it.
We even headed for the beach on Friday and we found a playground there, too.
I’ve always been such a task-oriented person; playing hookie from the to-do list so we can visit another park isn’t normal for me.
But it feels like this spring has been a long time coming and I am ready for it.
Anytime the wait feels long and the winter feels interminable, spring is the most welcome gift.
That’s how I feel: Struck with wonder at the gift and deeply grateful. I’m spilling over with praise and gratitude that our good God gives such gifts to those who wait with expectant hope.
That little taste of spring has me wanting more. I’m insatiable now. I’ve carried paperwork, writing, and even sewing out to the porch so I can work outdoors instead of inside. I’ll take a walk in the morning and will want to walk a few miles in the evening, too.
My son feels it, also. We leave one playground and he’s ready to move onto another one. We are loving it.
I’ve been reading Psalm 71 and the subtitle for this Psalm stops me right from the beginning:
Forsake Me Not When My Strength Is Spent
It’s a prayer for the weary and a request not to be left alone, or abandoned, or forsaken. It’s holding out for God’s strength amid utter weakness.
It’s a cry for hope. from someone stuck in the middle of that winter that seems to never end.
This Psalm is for the poured out and the emptied, for those who have hung in there with determination and are ready to collapse into Jesus’s arms.
And this is the reminder the Psalm gives us:
God is faithful.
The Psalmist prays:
Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come (Psalm 71:3).
He asks for God to be an inexhaustible source of safety and strength.
I don’t just come today. I come tomorrow, too. I come running to Him day after day, time after time. This disappointment, this struggle, that mistake, that frustration, that delay, that season of waiting—where does it send us?
To our Rock of refuge. We come and we come continually, because we cannot get enough of Him. We’re desperate for His presence and we’re lost without His help.
Here’s the hope we have:
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again (Psalm 71: 20-21, emphasis mine).
He will revive us, lift us up, and comfort us anew. He has done it before, and He will do it again.
We know His faithfulness, His steadfast character. We see the testimony of God’s goodness in the past…in OUR past.
That’s why we praise. Not only do we run to our Refuge continually and trust Him to save us again, we keep the praises coming, too.
My praise is continually of you…
My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all the day. (Psalm 71 :6, 8 ESV) .
We continually come.
God continually rescues.
We continually praise
and we continually hope.
But I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more (Psalm 71: 14 ESV).
This is what I’m feeling as I’m driven to playground after playground, taking walk after walk, dragging all of my inside work to a porch so I don’t miss a minute of sun.
I’m giving thanks, because again and again He does this, taking us through the winter, through all the cold and the wearying darkness, through the toil and the waiting, through the hard.
Thank you, Lord, for the warmth. I can’t get enough. Thank you for the sun. I don’t want to miss a minute of it.
Thank you for the scent of lilies in the breeze. Thank you for mornings at a playground, picnics in the park and an afternoon at the beach. Thank you for evening sunshine.
Thank you, Lord, for being faithful. Thank you for being our continual refuge.
Thank you that because of your faithfulness, we can have hope, not just for a moment, but in all seasons and at all times.