When Rest does not Come

Rest can be hard to come by. That sweet season where things are calm, life is peaceful, and everything feels comfortable. A chance to let the breath out and the guard down. Ease in the surrender.

NL-80

I have been in desperate need of rest. Not because I’m overcommitted or overwhelmed. I’m just worn. Lately life refuses to let up. Struggles, adversity, difficult decisions; one gigantic hurdle after the next. And for a long time. The odds stacked dauntingly against us; a stretch where we have stared doom in the face, wondering how we will survive such a formidable turn of events. Our life laid up on the alter; our faith getting real in a hurry.

So I prayed for a rest. I pleaded and asked and trusted, but rest did not come. I searched for the light at the end of the tunnel–even tried in vain to fabricate it myself–but the tunnel stretched on. My big, bold prayers faded and worn thin, echoing in the distance between me and God. My heart heavier by the day. Desperation.

And even when I reached my breaking point, still no end in sight. No signs of green pasture ahead. No cloud to shade us from the scorching sun. And all while I frantically poured my heart out for hope, for rest–for a miracle–nothing materialized. Nobody stepped in and saved the day.

NL-77

Because sometimes He leads us to quiet waters, and sometimes He leads us into wilderness. Sometimes He calms the storm, and other times He throws us into the belly of a great fish. Sometimes He defeats our enemies, and sometimes He hands us a slingshot. It was not the alternative I wanted. Not the miracle I asked for or believed in. Instead of providing for our need, God provided opportunity. Tools, circumstances, ability. Hard work is good for a weary soul.

No matter how spent and bone-tired we are, sometimes the season of rest just does not come. Strength gives way, and eventually, endurance runs out. The storm rages on, so dark and ominous, beating down mercilessly on our weathered souls. And what are we left with then?

These frail hearts. Humanness at it’s core.

He does not always provide rest; but He always provides restoration. Not always giving a miracle but always being miraculous. In the middle of our wilderness, He shapes the spirit. Imprints His character on open hands. We ask for rest, and He restores. We pray for a break; He breaks down the heart. His redeeming glory rebuilding, restoring. Provision of an everlasting abundance.

Count it all joy. The storm rages on. But my heart is fully His.

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