August 2022: Making Time Before God
Updated: Oct 27, 2022
Dear Alpha family and friends,
Today is my first day back to work from a two-week vacation. It feels great to be back at the church, but I also am glad to have had some time off to relax, decompress, and spend some quality time with Petra in a beautiful place like the Outer Banks. To be honest I did not realize how much I needed time to unwind. It was not until the fourth day of our vacation that I began to feel the tension of life start to recede from my soul.
Vacation reminds me of the biblical principle of Sabbath. After a time of fashioning creation, the Bible shares that God saw what he made was good and then he rested. God rested. That is a difficult concept to grasp from one who is all powerful, noncorporeal, and unburdened by a sinful inclination. Yet even God seemed to need to “get away” after he worked his will into being. If God sought such respite, how much more do you think we require it to remain whole?
The truth is that many people struggle being still. Both our cultural inclination to reach for the stars and our inner need to be validated often work in tandem to deflect us from rest. Some are racked with guilt when they take a break, while others refuse to settle down to avoid soulful contemplation. To sit still for more than a few moments would mean facing things we would rather keep hidden in the deepest recesses of our minds. It would provide too much space to assess who we are, where we are headed, and what is driving our lives. Some of us would rather stay distracted by busyness than face those existential realities.
Yet I believe that God modeled Sabbath, or quietness, for us because it allows our souls time to breathe. In a physical world, where the body is bombarded by sensory overload from other people, technology, and the stresses of life, stillness reorients us with our inner spiritual compass. It is here when God’s Spirit speaks most profoundly to us. It also allows us to become reacquainted with perspective by aiding us to recategorize what is truly important in life from those things which are better left at the periphery.
My prayer is you will seek to carve out some time this week to rest in the Lord. Find a quiet place or take a walk somewhere beautiful to be in God’s presence for a time. As you do, try not to resist when unsettling thoughts begin to surface no matter how irreverent or irrelevant, they seem to be. God delights in truth; he wants us to be honest with what is really going on in our hearts and minds. Truthfully acknowledging our fears and our anguish, our hesitations and our regrets, just might be the very things God seeks to resolve in you in order bring you closer into his Shalom. My prayer for you:
Lord Jesus: May your Spirit be deeply present when we take time to be still before you. May you bring revelation and resolution to the things that obstruct us from your peace. May you offer solace to the fears and uncertainties which trouble our minds. May you soothe the pain from our festering physical, emotional, and spiritual afflictions. May you overwhelm us with you Shalom so that we are able to lavishly bestow love and grace to those around us. Amen.