One of my favourite verses in Scripture is Isaiah 58:11 (NLT).
“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.”
Marilyn and I moved into a bungalow four years ago. It is surrounded by gardens, a pond, and mature trees. I love gardening. There is so much to do. We spent a lot of time sitting in our new surroundings, listening to the birds and watching the roses bloom. Resting in the serenity of my garden refreshes me. The Lord promises to make our lives like “well-watered gardens” characterized by beauty, colour, fragrance, tranquility, and life — life abundant.
In one of the low points of his life, the Apostle Peter needed a tranquil, safe place to be with the restorer of his soul. He needed a safe place — a place of sanctuary.
Peter had just denied the Lord publicly three times. He was devastated, empty, and spiritually numb. And so, he withdrew. He escaped from the pain and ran to Galilee to do something very familiar. In John 21:3, Peter tells the disciples, “I’m going out to fish,” and six other disciples followed. They run away with Peter.
However, Jesus met Peter on the seashore and called Peter to meet with Him. Peter was a broken man whom Christ was preparing to become a rock.
Jesus does a few things when we need to be spiritually restored. In John 21 we learn that:
- Jesus built a fire. It was a safe place away from all the noise. Jesus wants to establish a quiet place for us to regularly meet with Him.
- Jesus cooked a meal. It was a fish dinner to help replenish Peter’s strength. To help Peter refocus and gain perspective.
- Jesus spoke comforting words. Jesus was Peter’s special friend. His words nourished and lifted Peter’s spirit.
It was twenty-five years ago this fall that Marilyn and I visited the “Holy Land” with a group of other pastors and their spouses. It was a life-changing experience quite frankly. Our guide took us to a rocky beach by the Sea of Galilee and we reflected on this story in John 21. We were given free time to meet with the Lord. It was a time of refreshing for me where I built a small altar of rocks to remember this occasion. I’ve often wondered if it is still standing.
We all need “times of refreshing” (Acts 3:10). Occasions for Jesus and His Word to speak into our heart and soul.
In this safe place, Christ’s words helped Peter to deal with his weariness, pain, and sense of shame in a healthy way. Peter’s spiritual life was refueled and refreshed. His life became a “well-watered garden” once again.
What words of comfort did you receive from Jesus today? If you missed time with the Lord today, make sure tomorrow morning you find a safe place to meet with Him and be replenished. Let your life be characterized as a beautiful, lush, well-watered garden. Please don’t miss your rendezvous with Jesus tomorrow.
Click here to view Steve’s Holy Land sketch book.