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Jeff Cultural Observations, Family, Hope, Spiritual Growth

Sitting at my office desk this morning for the first time in ten days I found myself feeling like I had never really left.  A smile found my face when, of its own accord, a blue-tooth device for my phone communicated in a computerized female voice that it was shutting down.  Right before I began typing the opening words above I heard her declare, “Powered Off!”

Powered off – That’s what happened to me while I was intending to enjoy some family time on vacation last week.

Many of you probably have been aware of my physical struggles over the preceding several days.  Quite frankly, I don’t desire to dwell on them at all in this post today.  Simply put, I had gout in my right heel that put me flat on my back, unable to rise up, for the better part of five days.  I was, for the first time in my 41 years, completely incapacitated and unable to deliver any rebounding strength.  While the ocean waves lapped outside my window accompanied by the squeals of my delighted children at the pool…I sat in bed watching mindless shows on the National Geographic Channel…for two and a half days. I was alone with my thoughts and that’s not always a pleasant place to be when you are wrestling on the inside.  Here’s one of the predominant reminders that I’ve been left with since making a near full recovery:

“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…” – Hebrews 4:11a {ESV}

I thought the rest I needed would be in time away from my ministry demands.  It wasn’t. Certainly rest would be found in the tranquil surroundings of Florida beach-life.  Nope. Treasured time with Amy and the kids held great promise as being the perfect prescription for a heart that needed relief and refreshment.  Didn’t happen. Neither leisure nor liberty nor laughter nor love delivered my much desired rest.  As a matter of fact, I’m back in the very same office that I sought relief from two weeks ago and am none the more rested than when I glibly left.  Before anyone feels sorry for me it would be helpful to submit that I may have gained something more lasting than the temporary rest I had craved.  I think our Father has deposited some wisdom in me about some things that I was unaware that I needed.  “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” – Proverbs 8:10-11 {ESV}.

Jesus Christ is only and always the resting place for the Christian.  He is always available, whether we are frolicking on the beach or festering on a bed.  His promises are both iron-clad and pillow-soft;  He is the sovereign shepherd who purposefully leads sheep who are in need of deeper trust into valleys that force them to draw nearer to Him.  He is the Great Physician who can and does heal – both physically and spiritually.  He is a jealous King who will not allow our confidence to rest in other things, lesser things.  He is the faithful Servant who is wise to deny us the things we want in order to bless us with the things we need.  Jesus is our rest.  I know that we know that this is true but do we believe that this is true?  If so, why then do we innately assume that so much benefit and blessing will come to us through unproved or disproved channels?

Sometimes you have to get powered off to reclaim the certainty that we find our soul’s deepest rest in Jesus Christ.  Not only our eternal salvation in Him, but our life’s satisfaction in Him.  Man…I need to grow in this area today.  I’m glad He ordained some circumstances for me to remember that.  Maybe now, back in Georgia in the midst of a whirlwind weekend schedule, I can experience the much desired rest that I thought awaited me on vacation at the beach.

Powering on,