In 2013, my 19-year-old son entered Hospice Care, my 15-year-old son spent seven weeks in the hospital after a benign tumor was removed from his spinal cord, my dad entered Hospice, a fire destroyed a vital building at the camp where we live and serve, an overnight plumbing disaster seriously damaged half our home, and I lost half my thyroid to pre-cancerous nodules.
During this time, God proved to me that rest is defined and refined in crisis. Jehoshaphat became my hero and my mentor through his whiplash story in 2 Chronicles 22:1-22a. Take the time to read it, but here are highlights.
“For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you,” ‘… Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s … You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’ ” (2 Chronicles 22:12, 15-17 NIV 1983).
During my 2013 battle, I wore a variation of the same t-shirt every day. Slipping the shirt over my head became my morning declaration, my daily battle cry. The t-shirt had one word on the front: Trust. A thousand times a day I prayed, “I will trust You.”
The global turmoil threatening to take us all under in 2020 is giving me flashbacks to my inner turmoil of 2013. Only one thing will make us battle ready. Our soul must be at rest.
Grounded in Psalm 23, this is God’s rest at its best. A deep, abiding, all encompassing rest that defies reality is known as Restorative Wellness. The promise and marching orders are found in the first three verses.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
Nothing! Not time. Not energy. Not hope. Not peace. Nothing!
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He makes. He invites. He commands. Do I listen? Resist? Defy? Comply?
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He knows what I need, and His provision is complete.
He restores my soul.
My much used, well-loved 1983 New International Version uses the word restores while the current version says refreshes. The Lord restores and revives my heart for journeys that include dark places and steep climbs.
Psalm 23 points to God’s plan to meet our needs through restorative activities that include intentional stops and bucket filling practices. Four biblical rhythms highlight our need for rest relationally (Sabbath Keeping), physically (Sleep), spiritually (Stillness—personal prayer), and emotionally (Solitude—personal retreat). Strategic and simple, God’s bucket filling plan allows us to lack nothing.
Will we take Him at His Word?
Sabbath – Relationally Reconnects
Sabbath is guilt-free time set apart to reconnect with God and the people we hold dear. This is a carefree freedom to pray and play unhindered and unhurried.
Sleep – Physically Rejuvenates
Prioritizing 7 to 9 hours of restorative sleep sets us up for vibrancy and good health.
Stillness – Spiritually Replenishes
Planned and unplanned, stillness is a purposeful pause in the Presence of God that cultivates joy, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.
Solitude – Emotionally Recharges
Solitude is time off the beaten path, free of demands and distractions, to meet with God. This is an invitation to step away from the fray because minutes matter, hours make a difference, and a day away delivers.
Covid-19 is giving us the Gift of Time to Rest Well and Serve Faithfully. The anguish and agony are real. The work before us is monumental. God makes a way, but we must follow our Good Shepherd. Covid-19 is an opportunity to witness and be a part of one million miracles—if we have eyes to see, a heart to trust, hands to serve, and a soul that finds rest.
“Find rest, O, my soul; my hope comes from him,” (Psalm 62:5 NIV 1983).
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