(I believe this post will have more meaning if you read the posts “Pots” and “In Between” first!)
I have trust issues. Big ones, one’s with the creator of the universe. That is hard to say, hard to admit. I didn’t realize it till this year, 2018. It all started in October 2017 when God spoke to me that 2018 would be a season of rest. So exciting, considering the past 5 years have not been very restful. We delivered a baby, bought a new house to hold all these kids, endured a severe health issue, struggled through the death of my father and grandmother, felt the weight of an alzheimers diagnosis and a cancer scare, had some parenting dilemmas and went to therapy, then a job loss, a hospitalization, some more therapy and a few other hard things thrown in there.
Bring on the rest! So I have been waiting on this rest to come, but I just became, well, restless. I was restless for my rest! What? I wasn’t able to pinpoint this restlessness until this week.
Turns out I have trust issues.
Here’s a few: I don’t trust that God will come through without my help, I don’t trust that he knew what he was doing when he chose me for my family, I don’t trust that I’m the right girl for the job he places in front of me. I, I, I. My rest seems to be on a seesaw ride with my trust issues, my doubt. As my doubt increases, rest hits the grass. Doubt has been flying high way too long.
Recently, I’ve been in the Old Testament with Abram and Jacob. I’ve written about big promises God made them and how they trusted God with those promises. But I feel more like Moses and those Israelites that always get the bad rap. Moses questioned the living God many times when he was told to go speak to Pharoah. And the Israelites continued to test and question God despite His clear promise and provision for them. Today I discovered a sermon by John Piper on Hebrews 4:1-11. This passage describes this exact struggle. John Piper knew the church was doubting 20 years ago and spoke to our need for rest. He also discusses how this rest is found through our belief and lost by our doubt.
After reading this passage today, I realized why I’ve been so restless. I’ve had it all wrong. Man, I hate to be wrong!
Apparently, God is offering me a different kind of rest than I thought I was getting. I assumed God was telling me that we were entering into a calm, orderly season where the boys would chill out, my marriage would be stellar, I would have a fabulous opportunity that gave me purpose and attention, money would finally grow on that tree out back, ocean waves and drinks with umbrellas, you get the picture. I assumed rest meant the absence of stress. But God was not talking about this kind of rest for me. He was talking about a soul rest. A rest that is present regardless of what I am surrounded by. A rest that is secure despite my long days, dirty house, fighting boys and marriage difficulties. A rest that comes despite the hurt times when no one sees me and I feel all alone. A rest that stays despite my longing to hug and talk with my dad again or smell his cologne. A rest that is deep despite my fears that a project we’ve invested a ton of money in will never be profitable, a rest that resounds despite my anxiety of not being noticed or applauded for my efforts. A rest that never leaves no matter what is spinning or sinking around me. A rest that is grounded in Christ alone. A rest for all of us
I love that quote above, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” It made me think of Abram and that impossible, nighttime promise from God about the stars. I wonder when he questioned God’s promise, what did he do? I wonder, did he look at those stars and rest? I imagine that rest allowed him to keep his feet moving on that dry, dusty ground as he waited for Isaac to come. I imagine Jacob looking at the stars, remembering God’s promise to his grandpa and God’s promise to him at Bethel. I imagine he rested in God as he faced his brother, Esau, not knowing if he would die that day. But he took one dusty step after another, towards Bethel. I imagine Moses, looking at the stars and the great cloud that held the Living God in front of him, resting as he took dusty steps away from Egypt and thru the swollen Jordan River. I imagine the Israelites seeing the stars and the cloud and struggling to take steps of rest towards the land of giants ahead of them. Many of them didn’t make it to their Promised Land because they didn’t choose rest.
We have all been given a promise by God, to rest, to trust in his son, Jesus Christ. What will we do?
Psalm 116: 7 “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”