When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place. Psalm 118:5
What’s it like in North Dakota? That’s what I’m usually asked when I tell people I graduated high school in Jamestown, North Dakota. Short answer: it’s a spacious place. With a landmass of 70,762 square miles, North Dakota is a large, mostly flat treeless state with massive amounts of room to roam. It’s the third least populated state in America and has the fewest visitors. I haven’t returned to gaze upon the giant cement buffalo.
But it does have a wide variety of wildlife, is rich in natural resources, a very wide unobstructed horizon and the lowest crime rates and unemployment in the nation. In North Dakota, the American buffalo still roam the prairies. So do bighorn sheep, deer, elk, moose and pronghorns, though you don’t see them too often. The state’s human population isn’t significantly higher than it was one hundred years ago.
A recent oil and natural gas boom has created jobs and brought prosperity back to North Dakota. Even so, visitors will find mile upon mile of uncluttered roads and trails, ample peace and quiet, along with plentiful hunting, fishing, camping, boating and cross-country skiing because it’s too flat for downhill skiing.
Less than a tenth the size of North Dakota, the land of Israel was never a very big place. But when David was running for his life from King Saul and his army, it seemed smaller than ever. Everywhere the young fugitive turned, someone would recognize him and give him away. But then David cried out to God and found a spacious place where he could breathe easy for awhile. It was a rest and peace of soul that God brought to David right in the middle of his distress.
The fact is, most of us know how it feels to be pressed in by circumstance, deadlines, job pressures, or health concerns. Like the apostle Paul, we could say, “We are hard pressed on every side…”But even when we’re up to our ears in the pressures of life, there’s a refuge in God’s wide sheltering arms where we can find rest. A rest better than any destination vacation to a spacious land can offer.