I remember a talk I gave many years ago on change. Beginning with Abraham, I spoke on how we are never promised to remain in the same place forever, and how God teaches us by sometimes moving us from the place we’ve served for years. I was speaking to saints who had taught the same Sunday School class or served in the same area for decades. Getting out of our comfort zone by making a change is good, both us and for the church as a whole. That doesn’t make it easy.
I don’t think Father Abraham or the Apostle Paul would either claim their life of constant change was easy, but through it, they were both able to see the hand of God move in amazing ways, as they walked and served by faith. I can definitely sympathize with them, as I’ve moved across continents and countries in the past thirty plus years of my life in ministry.
Following my husband’s death, service helped me to carry on. It gave me purpose and encouragement to move forward through my grief. Yet, this month I hit a brick wall. I found myself struggling. I lost my joy. My soul was weary. I kept thinking that it was because of the month that will now always be associated with my loss, but the Lord said no. It was more than that. I heard him calling me to rest.
I’m not good at rest, never have been, never will be. I blame my mother, who was always doing something while watching TV or sitting in her chair. My dad, however, was another story. He could sit and relax, read a book or work a crossword puzzle. I wish I could be more like him today. So, when God says, “rest in me,” my guilt-o-meter raises a red flag. “I can’t, Lord. They need me. What if everything falls apart?”
Still, based on his voice, I submitted. I told my church I was going to take a break to rest, to grieve, to hear from God. My first Sunday and then Thanksgiving away from my church almost killed me. Besides my waking up in the middle of the night wondering if they would remember to turn off the heat and lights, their texts of love and prayers tore at my soul. Their calls and visits were even harder. I tried to remind them I’d only missed one Sunday so far. What were the weeks ahead going to bring?
Then today I read this verse:
Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)
I’ve been standing at the crossroads this past week or so, feeling my soul pulled in so many ways. Now, I’m asking for the ancient path, the one walked by many before me that sought his way, his will. It is not the way of ease, for it’s taking me out of what I know and love and feel so comfortable doing, but I know it’s taking me back to the point where I can hear clearly from the one who longs to give me rest for my soul.
Like Abraham, I feel like I’m being led to a land I know not, but I am confident of the one who’s leading me there along the ancient path.
Have you been doing the same thing for years and lost touch with the one who led you there in the first place? Is your soul tired and weary? Maybe it’s time you asked where the good way is and walked in it. Your way is not my way. His way is sure. For there we will all find rest for our souls.
Grace and Peace