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Resting in tension

Though it's largely and thankfully been a smooth transition back into work and life this week, there are some underlying tensions which make it challenging to rest. That takes faith, I suppose, and I'm coming to see where mine is anemic or absent. Things are as they are, and when I'm dependent on this or that to be settled or reconciled in order to rest, I'm probably just chasing rainbows. There will always be one more thing, something yet undone or looming on the horizon. If my peace lies in the resolution of those circumstances, it will ever be just beyond my grasp.

Worse, I'll start chasing down idols to make my life work. While Moses met with God, the Israelites demanded some kind of certainty in the wilderness, and Aaron fashioned an idol to appease them (Exodus 32). God had never been closer. They had never seen clearer evidence of His presence. But He was too wild, too other, so rather than believe and trust His promises and signs, they demanded a life and a god they could control, even going so far as to pretend their small, self-fashioned god was the same as I AM.

Do I do this? All the time. It's a really messed up way of relating to God and the world around me, and this week I'm feeling it.

To my postmodern sensibilities, God's command to observe the Sabbath can seem ceremonial and superfluous, or perhaps a provision for my limitedness and need of rest. But this command is about Him in an unavoidably tangible way. In observing rest for a full day each week, I am confronted with letting go of my constant efforts to save myself. He commands me to lay down my arms in a world that is hostile, to place myself fully at His mercy. This action uniquely grounds me in reality—He alone is my hope. That's easy to say, but obeying God's Sabbath command forces me to put my money where my mouth is.

Can I trust God when I am unsettled? Forty years of desert wandering redefines the concept of "unsettled." Can I rest with nothing but His presence and His promise to hold onto, living in such a way that, if He does not come through for me, I have no other hope? And when I can find no rest, will I cry out to Him, admitting my need, my unbelief, and, like Jacob, not letting go until He blesses me?

That's not how I've been living. Now would be a good time to begin.

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Can I trust God when I am unsettled? Forty years of desert wandering redefines the concept of "unsettled." Can I rest with nothing but His presence and His promise to hold onto, living in such a way that, if He does not come through for me, I have no other hope? And when I can find no rest, will I cry out to Him, admitting my need, my unbelief, and, like Jacob, not letting go until He blesses me?

This is so where I am lately.

You wouldn't believe how often I want to go back to Egypt. When I look at myself in the context of the Exodus, I realise that I am no different from those Israelites.

It gets depressing...