“Wow, could this be the best part of the amusement park?” I thought to myself. In June my husband and I joined our daughter and her young family at a theme park. The community was experiencing a heat wave, so it was a hot, humid day. At mid-morning, our three young grandchildren were struggling with the heat. We could see that the two-year-old was moving toward a breakdown. She was probably dehydrated and we couldn’t get her to drink anything.
Where could we go to cool her off? We walked quickly looking for a restaurant or attraction with air conditioning. We passed a small sign that said, “Baby Area.”
“Baby area,” said my son-in-law, Joe. “I read about those. They have microwaves and diapers.”
Microwaves? I angled through the crowd to take a look inside the “baby area.” What I found was
a large, air-conditioned play room with child-sized tables, cheerful carpet, and a big-screen TV playing a popular children’s movie. “Can we stay here for a while?” I asked the attendant. He nodded, “Of course!” We moved in and got comfortable. The little girls happily sat on little chairs and watched the movie. The sweaty adults sat down and took a deep breath. We found cold lemonade which the girls would now drink. We had found a place of refuge from the heat, and we were thankful.
Just like a hot, humid day at the theme park, life can be hard, and life can be joyful. Our Heavenly Father knew this, so he prepared places of refuge for us as we journey through life.
Our first place of refuge is knowledge that we are children of our Heavenly Father. He knew us and loved us before our life on earth. He taught the prophet Jeremiah in the Holy Bible this truth:
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 KJV). The apostle Paul taught that we are the children of God, and that God is not an obscure “object” but in reality our Father: “For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28 KJV). Paul also taught that our Heavenly Father’s loving desire is for us to enjoy eternal life with him one day: “that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17 KJV).
The next place of refuge Heavenly Father has given for our journey through life is the gift of Jesus Christ, his Only Begotten Son in the flesh, to be our Redeemer and our Comforter. Jesus was born in both power and humility. He received the attribute of immortality from his Heavenly Father, and the attribute of mortality from Mary, his mortal mother. “Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness.” He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example (“The Living Christ”). Jesus’ suffering has enabled him to sustain us in our every need. We can repent and change from our mistakes and inadequacies. We can call on Him for help and guidance. We can lean on Him through our challenges. He taught that in the eternal picture, He will balance all inequalities and make everything right and fair.
Other places of refuge include our homes and families when we try to follow Jesus’ teachings and live with love, integrity and faith. There is refuge in our congregations, where we meet weekly to renew our commitment to Jesus Christ and where we support and encourage one another. There is refuge as we kneel in humble prayer and ask for help, receiving light and comfort from the Holy One.
“There really is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, the ‘light that is endless, that can never be darkened.’ It is the very Son of God Himself,” taught Jeffrey R. Holland, an Apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
At the theme park that summer day, we returned to the “baby area” for refuge whenever the kids needed relief from the heat. We were thankful for that gift. Likewise, in our lives, if we stay close to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ we can receive love and support through all the seasons of our lives. Refuge can be ours if we seek it.
Beth Wright and her husband Kerry have raised their four children in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, enjoy the great Alaskan outdoors, and find great joy in being members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.