“Find me a place on the earth where a weary man can rest and listen for your voice in the turning seasons.” -Fernando Ortega (A Place on the Earth)
Well, summer is all but over. Its the time of the turning of the seasons. The kids have returned to school. Now we can begin to recover from all the exhausting effort we put into taking it easy this summer.
In June, July and August most Michiganders go north. I have in my mind a picture of a big SUV pulling a trailer laden with toys and bikes and kayaks headed north to find a quiet place by the lake for a few days of rest. It must be a lot of work to pull all that off I think. In September we come back home and settle in, check the anti-freeze, storm windows, and the snow-blower.
It’s September in Michigan and hard to imagine a better time of the year to sit on the steps in the quiet morning or stroll in the waning evening, quiet before God. Saints and poets know there is something unusually stimulating about solitude and silence.
Jesus was often busy and surrounded with clamoring need, sickness and shame, brokenness and blindness, suffering and poverty, oppression and death. He often rose early and worked late preaching and healing and forgiving sinners and resisting religious perversion and casting out demons, but He also retreated to the wild and spent time with His Father in unhurried prayer. He taught his followers to do the same. He still does.
Mark wrote: The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. (Mark 6:30-32)?
Jesus who retreated to the wild and taught his disciples to do the same, He is my King, He is my Lord, and He is my role-model. I want to work hard, go about doing good, and rest well, like he did. I want time in the wild, hearing from God and breathing out praise, thanksgiving, confession, and sharing the desires of my heart with Him. To do that I’m going to take advantage of some time on the front steps watching the leaves blow down or the storm roll in.
I will not be distracted by reading, writing, projects, deadlines, or goals. I will not give in to the temptation to worry or fill my life with frenetic activity. I will be quiet. Walking, driving the countryside with the windows down in the evening, listening with heart and ears.
I commend this Christ-like behavior to you. It’s life-giving.
Jesus said; “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29