Return to Rest

The other day I was at my brother’s house. He works from home and was trying to get work done in his home office when the Queen of Questions, his 8 year old daughter and my mini-me niece, walked into his office and started up. “Daddy what are you doing? What’s for dinner? Can we read two books tonight? Do I have school tomorrow? It’s 7:15 right? So 15 more minutes until bed? Can I stay up until 8? Can we get pizza this weekend? Where is Mommy? Where is my pony? Can I be a Pony?”

He looked at her and kindly said, “I’m working.”

“Well, what am I supposed to do?” She said without pause.

“Go play. Go enjoy all the presents you just got for Christmas, go outside, play with your sister. Enjoy yourself.”

I often have these moments when I’m watching my brothers parent—instead of brother and niece, I see God and Rebekah.

This was one of those moments.

As I watched her contemplate his answer, my heart broke for her a little bit. I knew she didn’t quite understand. I knew that to her it may have appeared that her dad was not answering her questions or worse, not paying attention to her.

I knew that feeling, from my God.

My niece ran off to play and eventually did enjoy her day while her father continued to work.

As she did, something profound hit me. Her daddy wasn’t just working, he was working for her. The job he had, the time he put in, the money he made, put a roof over her head and food in her belly and all those new toys in her room. His silence then in the moment was not a dismissal of her or her questions; it was simply him attending to her deeper, survival needs. The ones that she had grown so accustomed to having met she didn’t even realize that he was the source.

This moment, combined with what has happened in my life lately, has bought me to a new place of humility. I mean honestly, I would say I’m in a very good place spiritually right now because I have re-realized (yes, I’ve had this realization before, but apparently I forget) that I DON’T DESERVE ANYTHING….except for, honestly, hell.

When that realization takes root it can only produce the fruit of humility. Literally the words “I am brought low” have been rolling around in my head and heart for weeks. Not in a shameful way, just in a I’m really sorry for failing to realize all that You do for me kind of way.

And you know what? Humility feels good, really good. It feels like peace running through my veins.

Psalm 116:7 says “Return to rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”

What a verse. Return to rest – meaning the soul was not at rest – for the Lord has been good to you.

The writer of this verse, as we know from reading the surrounding verses, has just been through a time where people were chasing him and trying to kill him! On the run, in survival mode, he cried out for God to protect him, and God did. God gave Him specifically what He asked for. Not right away, but eventually. And when the writer was able to see God be good to Him, he was able to return to rest once again.

It sure is nice when God comes through for us in the specific ways that we ask for isn’t it? It’s a lovely reminder of his sovereignty and goodness towards us. And in those times, it is easier to believe, to find rest for our souls. But what about the times when God is working and tells us to go play? What about the times when he seems busy, distracted, dismissing and we are left to kind of just live and wait for what is next, having no idea what that really is?

Return to rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you

This verse is always true, every single day for every single person. The problem is never that God hasn’t been good, or that He isn’t sovereign or that He isn’t working, at this very moment. The problem, and what causes our own souls unrest, is our humility – our failure to accept answers that we might not understand at the moment and humanity that limits us, like age limits my niece, from seeing what is really going on.   

Ugh. Even as I write that I know it sounds trite. Most of the time that feels impossibly hard for me, but as I said earlier, at this moment in my life belief feels oddly easy. I just wanted to take a moment and share with you why; share with you what I have remembered again; Give you the list of things that in my humanness, or pride or simply the busyness of life, have grown so accustomed to that I forgot God was the source.

The Grandeur of Worship

We were all made to worship. Some people pick sex, some pick money, many pick self. The problem with those things is that they don’t possess the stunning, divine, absolute, grandeur that our God does. They give a great buzz, but they are not the soul shaking, awe-inspiring firm and powerful presence that our hearts were made to be wowed by. So they always fall flat. Yet I get to feel this sensation every time I worship with a humble heart. All other good things fulfill, yes, but as John Piper puts it, “The human heart was made to be staggered by terrifying joyous dread and peace.” Only God can do that. Only God. When did I forget that this gift comes from Him?

Return to rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you

Compassion Where There Should be Hatred

To experience God loving someone through me is beyond words and I have felt God do it time and time again. When my human nature wants to fight back because I’ve been attacked, write someone off because they have hurt me, or judge someone for this lack of respect or loyalty – and in the place of those emotions up wells compassion…. I know this is God and not me. Compassion, flowing through me. Compassion, that brings me tears. Compassion that can utterly cripple my anger is instant. Compassion that breaks the bondage of sin. When did I forget that this gift comes from Him?

Return to rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

Feeling “Right” With God

I don’t really know what that means, I just know how it feels. To me, being right with God feels like significance. That deep, abiding, I have a purpose, I know what I’m doing here on earth, feeling, is something people search their entire lives for. They get in and out of relationships for it. They commit their life to work for it. They travel the world for it. I have it. Not because I don’t sin. Not because I write a blog. Not because I follow all the rules. I have it simply because a moment came in my life where I acknowledged that God was greater than I, and I admitted that I needed him. Since that time I have always known why I am here. When did I forget that this gift comes from him?

Return to rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

Yes. It’s really nice when God gives us exactly what we ask for when we ask for it, but I don’t want to be one of those children who complains about being bored right after Christmas. When I hear my nieces or nephew say that, I want to look at the little weasel and say “Are you kidding me, do you have any idea how much money we all just spent on you?”

But then, thankfully, that compassion thing shows up and I see kids who are, frankly, just like us adults, in that they get bored easily and are impatient and just want to try everything. Ha. Sound familiar? 

Rebekah…

Yes Lord?

Just go and enjoy and don’t worry…let me work, on your behalf. Rest, I have been good to you.

Ok Lord…Ok.