More about that later, but first, the back story. Every January I pray for a word or phrase God might want to be my focus for the year. This year I was pretty sure I knew the answer without asking--transition. So many pieces of my life are in upheaval, not the least of which is that Joe and I are letting go of our shepherding role for the church we planted over 36 years ago. We are in what feels like the greatest transition of our lives.
...letting go of our shepherding role for the church we planted over 36 years ago. We are in what feels like the greatest transition of our lives.
But as I prayed, I heard a different word--rest. I resisted—reminding God that this transition is front and center for me every single day, along with all the other changes in my life. Still, I heard rest, so I set out to contemplate that notion, and what it might mean for me in 2018.
There are so many great truths about rest in Scripture, but the one that intrigues me most is the instruction in Hebrews to strive to enter into rest (Hebrews 4:11). This oxymoronic admonition—striving to rest—is where I found myself a few days into 2018.
As I sat with this, the image of swaddling babies came to mind—of how they often resist at first, but once they give into the constriction, they are able to rest. That’s when I began to grasp that for me, rest and transition are synonymous; that this upending of my life is God’s way of wrapping me so tight I have no other choice but to rest.
God is swaddling me with circumstances I cannot control, with a future afloat with uncertainty
God is swaddling me with circumstances I cannot control, with a future afloat with uncertainty, with days and weeks and months of ambiguity ahead, and a sense of loss so profoundly unfamiliar that I cannot find the edges.
Everything in me wants to resist—to throw off these constricting circumstances and return to what is sure, what is known, to a life that I have loved and never really wanted to change. But in resisting, I cannot find rest, so instead I must strive to trust God’s ways—day in and day out, moment by moment.
How is God swaddling you these days? What are the circumstances that constrict you, that threaten your faith, that make you waver in unbelief? What does resisting look like for you? What would it mean to strive for rest? I’d love to hear from you.
The song below is sustaining me with its truth day by day. So thankful to Jason Upton--Click here to get his latest album free and be blessed!!!
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Tricia McCary Rhodes
Author of 7 books and a professor for Fuller Theological Seminary, Tricia specializes in helping others experience God’s presence through practicing soul-care.