Saturday, February 11, 2023

Rest, Part One: Burden Bearing

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself and is a liar” -Gal. 6:2-3

Our God is SO good!


I am in quite a season right now. While battling a bronchial infection plus a sinus infection plus a lot of anxiety, God has brought me into a need for a season of rest. And I’m struggling with embracing the season. 


God is SO good. Even in our stress and anxiety, He is here. After all, we’re all broken people. When Jesus was in the garden, “Distressed to the point of death” (Mark 14:34), His Father God was with Him. Wait a minute, Jesus was distressed? What? Yes. He was perfect but He was a man. When we feel anxious and distressed, God is there. But where do I need to go? Nowhere. Rest. I rest in Him. Him alone. 


Throughout the day, I take my deep breaths and sighs knowing that He is with me, even in the crisis. Instead of just praying for the crisis to go away, I pray for Him to be there with me in the crisis. 


I take my deep breaths and sighs knowing that God is indeed faithful. Although meds help, there are no magic fixes for anxiety and that is okay. Life is hard and our “earth suits” (as speaker Bill Gillam calls our bodies) wear out beginning the day we are born. Our job is to manage these suits by giving them over to Christ, so they work as well as possible. That involves rest and peace and space. I am the one who is responsible for directing my life on that path of peace. 


I set my schedule…

         I say “no”…

                   I say “yes”…

                            I “let go” of my pride that wants to do everything…

                                     I seek peace…

                                               I embrace the season…

                                                        I rest … 

                                                                 I surrender to Christ. 


The choices are mine. But one thing is for sure- I will always pay a price for choosing peace, and it’s worth counting the cost. It means I give up the “fuel” of busyness that strokes my pride. It means I switch from gasoline to wood. Wood seems boring and gasoline flashy, but both keep the fire going. Besides, gas burns quickly and is expensive while wood is steady and lasting. 


God is SO good and a part of His goodness is providing rest and peace for us- if we’ll slow down and accept His gift. 


Yes, God could send gifts and healing and love directly from on high. An angelic delivery truck could pull up to our front door and drop of everything we need. But, He often chooses to work through our brothers and sisters to provide for us. One thing is for sure: we need each other. We weren’t built to solo. Gen. 2:18 reminds us. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” God wasn’t only referring to marriage, though it is amazing. Jeanie has been such a best friend and helper for these forty years and has been such an amazing servant to me through this season.


He was also referring to brothers and sisters in Christ.  In the past few weeks, Jeanie and I have had friend after friend provide meals and encouragement and love. But those friends don’t show up if my pride never lets them share their gift. As Galatians 6 warns us, when I think I’m “something,” I don’t need anyone, but I provide for everyone. I’m a liar to myself. The lie? That I don’t need anyone else to be okay. Humility receives and gives. Sometimes it just receives. It’s how the body of Christ was meant to work. Marcus Lamb said, “Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.”


Let go of the pride that doesn’t want to be served and let love rule. That’s certainly what I’m learning these days. 


It is a major challenge for me to “let go and let God.” I’m getting older but still learning to give it all over to Him. 


May we make decisions towards peace, rest, quietness and life. May our schedules and loads be shared with the people who surround us. May we let go and let God. May we let Him bear the load for us through our brothers’ and sisters’ love to us. May our “fuel” be the simplicity of the strength of Christ. 


Our loving God is SO good!


By Eric Joseph Staples ©