Monday, January 19, 2009
No image captures the peace of body, heart and mind like that of a sleeping kitten. A sleeping cat portrays total abandonment of all cares, total relaxation, and even an expression of joy as the purr of contentment builds inside the furry creature.
Reading Isaiah 30 is a a mixture of hope and sadness. It is a picture of people who have created grief for themselves and will have none of God's solutions. God's solutions and promise of rest are grounded in repentance and trust, not in our determination to control our own world or flee our situation.
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
16 You said, 'No, we will flee on horses.'
Therefore you will flee!
You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.'
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill."
18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
No rest is found in our determination that we are right... that we have all the answers, or in our determination to fix everything ourselves. Peace and rest, and even SOLUTIONS (salvation) are found in giving up having our own way and turning control over to our Father. Only in this way will we find anything near the contentment we see in the form of a sleeping kitten.
I pray I will be one who will live in this promised rest, granted only to those who WAIT on the Lord! It is a discipline to replace my worries with patience and praise and resting in Him, but it a sacrifice that pays rich rewards. I don't think many of us ever arrive at a state where we never fail in this giving up control to Our Father, or living in the REST He promises to us. It is a continual, daily exercise of discipline and faith. If we beat ourselves up for failing in this, we only dig ourselves deeper into guilt and worry. When we realize we have fallen into the "I'm the one who's in control here, and I've got to fix all this," it is better to just pick up where we left off and begin again, relinquishing all our cares to our Father and taking hold of the rest He offers.
It is interesting that He finds our unwillingness to do this as a stubborn, sinful thing. We may see it as a virtue, a sign of being dependable and responsible. God sees it as rebellion!
Here are some scriptures to ponder... promises of the peace of mind, rest, and salvation found in
releasing our cares to Him.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall
strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The Bible is full of such promises. Do a search in various versions for the words rest, peace,quiet, confidence, and salvation. You may be surprised how often this comes up in scripture.If only it didn't take so many of us a lifetime to figure it out!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I came to love you late,
so ancient and so new.
You called, and broke
through my defenses,
and now I long for you.
You breathed your fragrance on me,
and I drew in my breath
and now I pant for you.
I tasted you, and now
I hunger and thirst for you.
You touched me,
and I burn for your peace.
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)