The Rest of the Story
I’m tired as I write this, but, I suspect, not half as tired as I will be as you read. 48 hours from now I will be just 8 hours into a 35 hour trip to Indonesia, 28 of which will be in the sky. I’m usually quite comfortable flying, avoiding the grouchiness that plagues so many frequent fliers. I’m quite comfortable as well on my morning walks. But I’m pretty sure a marathon would do me in.
When the Apostle Paul encourages us to run our race well it is, in my judgment, a mistake to imagine bursting out of one’s starting blocks, then legs churning high followed by the chest lunging into the tape. Our race is not a sprint, but a marathon. Which means if we don’t, from time to time, experience a bit of spiritual tiredness, we’re probably doing it wrong. I have been blessed on my journey to avoid what others have called “the dark night of the soul,” moments of spiritual anguish where God’s grace and presence seem impossible to find. But I do get tired. When I do, I remember and give thanks that He does not.
Too often we seek out spiritual highs with all the fervor of an addict. We seek out those mountaintop experiences, often times priming the pump with a special book, going to a favorite conference, playing over and over a peculiarly moving bit of music. I’m not in the least opposed to spiritual heights, books, conferences or music. Resting in His grace, rejoicing in His favor, drawing near to His presence are precious gifts, and sometimes, valuable memories.
When our journey, however, takes us into the valley, it’s needful that we remember that He is with us there. His presence isn’t measured by my sensing of it, but by the sureness of His promise. His delight in me doesn’t ebb and flow with my spiritual strength but is an immovable rock, grounded in His fidelity. My feelings are not the constant in a world of flux, but are the flux in His world of constancy.
Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so. What I need is not to climb a spiritual mountain, but to dig deeper roots into the solid rock. I need to rest in the glorious, poignant truth that my security rests in the cross He climbed. It is less needful that I walk out of the valley, more needful that I remember that He walked out of the tomb.
We have a race to run, and it is a marathon, lasting from the day of our rebirth to the day of our rest. We run the race best, however, by resting in Him. I please my heavenly Father best as I remember that it is His Son who pleases Him best, and that the Spirit has been pleased to unite me to Him. I have everything I need and more than I could ever ask for. I must rest and rejoice.