It isn’t often during the course of the year that I come to the place I’m in these days when it seems my work is done and I have little sense of obligation and responsibility. In the last few days, I have the sense that I have taken care of lingering responsibilities and am heading into a weekend of significant total rest — something that only happens occasionally in my life.
This summer, in between some church pastoral responsibilities, we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to spend significant time with most of our family. We’ve traveled to attractive places like Oregon, Victoria, and Maple Ridge to do so, and have also enjoyed entertaining children and grand-children in our home here in Prince George. We’ve taken care of things around the yard and have had some valuable visits with friends in the area.
It is a rare thing for Carolyn and me to actually have some quiet time together without feeling a sense of responsibility for others or other things. It’s especially nice to have such a time at home — a place where we feel most comfortable and relaxed. We love our community and the house that God has given us in which to live these days. Though there are always more things to repair, renovate, and add, this is an attractive place in all kinds of ways. There are many exotic and beautiful places in the world, but there is no place like home however humble it may be.
It is especially nice to have such a weekend because our wedding anniversary is drawing near. And though we will be busy once again with regular responsibilities when the day actually arrives in about 10 days, we can take this weekend to celebrate in anticipation of that event. After forty-seven years together, we have much to celebrate and appreciate in one another. As time passes, it seems marriage becomes even sweeter, at least for us, because we have the time to truly reflect on all of God’s goodness in our lives.
I am persuaded that there is a time — weekly and certainly seasonally — to rest. There is a time to rest physically, to be refreshed in body through sleep, some modest exercise, and nourishing food. In that regard, these have been pleasant days indeed. I have enjoyed some walks, drives, and a bit of time at the lake. Yesterday we took our new puppies for a little walk also trying to train them to walk quietly by our side (right now on the end of a leash). Today I may try to do some walking on the golf course or riding my bike on the paths near our home.
Of course, such a rest time is also about spiritual and emotional refreshment. Recently, I have been emotionally and spiritually exercised about a number of issues arising in the lives of family and friends. It’s easy to become fixated on those difficulties, becoming anxious and overburdened with all of them. This weekend is a time to step back from all of that and just to rest in the knowledge that God knows and is well able to care for those needs.
In regard to continuing needs everywhere around us, it has been heartening for Carolyn and me to take time together for prayer, asking God for His intervention. We are seeing the need to establish this as a more regular habit of our daily lives. Even though there are times, quite often, when we have prayed together, many times, it seems, we have been too busy otherwise to consider the importance of this kind of regular exercise. But someone’s off-hand reference this week, of their experience in this, reminded me that the value of this practice should not be taken for granted. It is encouraging to see already how God has answered in one particular instance as we have taken the time to pray together about it. In this, I have been reminded of the promise in 1 Peter 3:7, that our prayers would not be hindered while living as “heirs together of the gracious gift of life.”
Today is a time to rest and be refreshed by time alone and time together enjoying various blessings in our own home. Tomorrow we will meet with God’s people for worship, engaging our senses in what it means to glorify His Name together. In the evening, we will likely go out to celebrate our marriage at a beautiful restaurant — something we don’t get a chance to do often enough. Monday will be more of the same, but will also include hosting neighbours who are moving to another city, as well as beginning to think about up-coming responsibilities. And so also on Tuesday, Wednesday and so forth.
But for today, it’s so good to experience that exquisite blessing of practically finding our rest in the Lord through true physical, spiritual, and emotional rest. Though the writer of Hebrews had a couple of particular applications in mind when he wrote, there remains then, a rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9), I’m sure it can also be applied to the kind of rest I’ve been writing about here.