Recently I was asked to write a devotion for Sunday. God has not called me to be a preacher, or even a teacher at this time of my life. God has called me to be a story-teller and to tell people about Him. So here is the story I told in this devotion. I pray it blesses you today.
One word has been resonating in my mind for the last couple of weeks. Do you know what I mean? Usually, when that happens, it is because God wants me to write something, and there is a restlessness in me until I pick up a pen and paper, or turn my computer to a new document and let the words pour out of me. And maybe this devotional was His long-term plan. But somehow I was not inspired to write whenever I heard this one word. Nor did I understand, quite what it meant.
So what was the word?
I thought it was strange, in the middle of lockdown when my life as I have known it for so many decades has been put on hold, when I am living in a new area where I know very few people and so even social distancing was little more than a nod and a greeting as I passed someone I thought I vaguely recognised behind their mask and glasses. What more did God want?
I have been working, I’ll give you that. At the beginning of the year I was commissioned to write some theological text books and I am two thirds of the way through that task. It has kept me busy. But I have not been working on it all the time.
Then, of course there is this blog, but that only takes a couple of hours a week. And there are the walks I have around the neighbourhood which are lovely but they do not take more than an hour or so either.
Then I read books – good books that teach me things, and light novels that fill the time; and I watch TV; and I chat to friends on the phone.
But life was not exactly busy. There were times when I would sit and sigh and wonder what to do next.
The word kept on, ringing in my mind. I couldn’t clear it. Usually when I write about a word God gives me it disappears from the forefront of my thoughts. But not this one.
I tried sitting in the garden, but my mind wandered to all the tasks I should have been doing and didn’t feel like it. I don’t find sweeping the floor a fulfilling task, and anyway, that’s work. Isn’t it?
Last Saturday I ran out of bread. I decided to go to town, but as I arrived at the T-junction I heard it again.
So I turned left instead of right and drove to the little coffee shop on the island, hoping they might have a loaf to spare. But it had not arrived yet and I was asked to come back in half an hour.
So I went for a walk. A long slow walk. The tide was low and there were flocks of birds enjoying the bounty of the mudflats. One seagull was in such a frenzy of joy as he rushed from one crab to the other I could hear his webbed feet slapping on the mud. The heron was stately and poised. No rushing for him. He would stand motionless and then dart his head forward, lifting it again with some delicacy for his lunch.
I enjoyed the early signs of spring as I wandered through the natural coastal bush that was part of the garden. I loved the way the sunlight danced on the small waves. I laughed at the dogs, rushing around, delighted to be free, barking with the joy of it all. It was a pleasant interlude and I enjoyed praising Jesus as I walked. An intimate moment with Him.
I went back to the shop and bought my bread, intending to return home after an enjoyable morning. But …
I sat in my car and asked God what He wanted. Then I turned the keys and drove across the island to where I could see the sea. Switching off the engine I sat and drank in the view. The few people around were leisurely, there was an occasional boat and an oyster catcher sifted through the sand for its lunch.
And I sat.
And I knew this was what God wanted.
I was still in His presence. Not thinking or writing, not walking or even praising. Just still, being in His presence. And I had a picture of a small child climbing up onto the lap of a beloved granny, putting her head on her grandmother’s chest and sighing a sigh of relief. Safe, loved, cherished. The little girl knew all was well in her world.
And I knew this is what God had wanted of me all that time. He wanted me to draw close to Him. To climb on His lap and put my head on His chest and let Him hold me, love me, cherish me.
I don’t know how long I sat there. But the love of God filled my little car; the grace of God washed over me; the joy of God made me sing a new song. And I drove home.
How are you doing in this strange time? Are you busy because you are a frontliner? Are you frantically trying to run your home, educate your children, work on-line? Do you see this as an opportunity to write that book that you have wanted to write for so many years, and yet it is not, perhaps, going so well? Or are you sitting at home, sighing, wondering what to do next.
Maybe this post is an invitation to you. Not from me but from God. Can you hear Him say to you:
Will you climb on His knee and let Him put His arms around you and sit for a while with your head on His chest. Listen to His heartbeat. Can you hear it?
I love you. I love you.
Will you let Him love you as you spend time in His presence?
Just rest, my friend. Relax in the presence of Jesus and let Him love you so His joy becomes yours and you can go forward through the week, renewed and refreshed.
May His gift of rest bless you whenever you accept it from Him. He is ready and waiting. Are you?
Some Scriptures to ponder:
Exodus 2:2: By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.
Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”