"Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.
You said, "No, we will get our help from Egypt...So the Lord must wait for you to come to Him so He can show you his love and compassion...Then you will destroy all your silver idols and precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, "Good Riddance!"
-Isaiah 30:15-16, 18, 22
This week I have felt like this hamster. I worry and hurry and scurry in seven different directions. I stop in the middle of one thing to go work on something else. I am weary and frazzled and I am not alone.
Just today, I left the office to put Abishai down for his nap to the sad goodbyes of the adults we left behind asking if they could take one, too.
It's good work, but it does not hold a good place in my heart if I have allowed it to rush me along
until I am irritable. nervous, and fidgety.
Something is off when my tasks feel so pressing that I cannot take a quiet moment to remember that my God is handling things quite capably, he is ready to help me when I ask, and I can go about my work from a place of patience and quiet confidence instead of rushing around like a mad woman and being so thrown off by the things that interrupt or derail my idea of how this day should go.
How draining or how life-giving the same task can be often depends on the state of my heart as I approach it.
All along, I could be resting, instead of craving those moments when the work finally stops so I can, too. All along I could be settled in God's sure strength and his good plan. But how quickly I become impatient and rush off to craft my own solutions. How easily the words, "No, I will get my help from..." escape my lips.
When will I see that all the other things I turn to only steal my worship and waste my time? May I learn to see them as the useless detours that they are, leading me on an uphill treadmill to nowhere until I collapse, out of breath and defeated.
May I gain the wisdom to say to them "Good Riddance! My only hope is the Lord!"
Lord, teach me to return to you and find my rest. You are the one who is patiently waiting to meet my needs. You are right there with me, ready to guide my every step, ready to set me in a place of quiet strength, unhurried, unworried, because my eyes are set on you.
I am often scurrying off to my own version of Egypt in a panic to guard my walls and build alliances.
But this is what you say:
"Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones."
Lord, lead me to a place of calm and teach me to live there, where I can say "The Lord is doing his good work and he is using me, but he does not require me to worry or scurry in this situation in order to do what He has planned with it.
So I will rest because I trust in Him."
In Isaiah and in Psalms there are echoes of a gift held out to an anxious people desperate for relief.
A gift that is still constantly offered and often turned down because we are too busy and too worried trying to control our world, force outcomes, plan perfectly, and do God's job.
But He does not weigh us down with heavy burdens and task us to keep up with an impossible pace.
He asks us to let him take our burdens, trust him to carry our cares, and slow down enough to remember who it is we serve and what He is capable of.
Our God holds out the gift of rest and patiently waits for us to take him up on it.
See that sleeping baby? He's on the same hike we are. He could be working just as hard, too, but it wouldn't get him any further.
What a great reminder God gave us in little kids
, who constantly outdo us in their willingness to relax and trust someone else to carry them.