Do you have a favorite place to be? When your day has been rough, you think about this place. Maybe it is a room in your house that calms you. Or maybe it is a vacation spot that whenever you go there, you just simply relax and life is good.
For me there are two such places that come to mind. One is Costa Rica. Whenever I go to this beautiful country, I relax. My mind, body, and soul go on “Tico Time.” As I step off the airplane, it knows. Things are going to be different here. Whether it is hiking around a volcano, hanging out in a shantytown with locals, or enjoying the sun and waves of the beach, it welcomes peace and relaxation. And it was amazing!
The other place is Deltaville, Virginia. This little town on the coast of the Chesapeake Bay is another place of peace and relaxation. Friends of mine own a house down there, and they were gracious enough to let me stay there every so often. One year, when I was going to a keynote speaker at a youth retreat, I spent a few days there in retreat. No WiFi. Limited cell service.
It was just me and God.
And that time is hard to find! Our lives are filled with so many demands on our time. Bills to pay. Work to get to. Kids that need feeding, changing, and oh yeah, school. Not to mention the homework! Projects with deadlines, meetings, caring of elderly family members, being a good neighbor, and the list goes on and on. There is so much that we have to do that there are days – there are moments – when we are overwhelmed at best.
It is hard to carve out time for God.
In the Message paraphrase of Psalm 32, Peterson refers to God as an island hideaway. Some translations say, “secret hideout,” or “secret hiding place.” I like island hideaway, though. The image of the island reminds me of the beach of Costa Rica or napping in a hammock in Deltaville. To equate God to this peaceful and relaxing place begins to calm the overwhelmingness within me.
But there is a another, greater, reason for this island hideaway, according to the Psalm writer. Our relationships are broken by sin. All relationships. There is within us an “internal schism,” as Nicole L. Johnson puts it. And so we seek forgiveness of our brokenness through confession.
We begin Lent, on Ash Wednesday, confessing:
Merciful God, I confess that I have not loved you with my whole heart. I have failed to be obedient. I have not done your will, I have broken your law, I have rebelled against your love, I have not loved my neighbors, and I have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive me, I pray. Free me for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
Lent reminds us that when we confess, we go to God, our Island Hideaway, to be filled with grace; the grace that renews us. May your Lent be filled with a renewing sense of an Island Hideaway.