“Our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” St Augustine
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.” (Psalm 62:1)
Like a wanderer – rootless, aimless, a rover – so too our soul often is. We roam, wander away from God through hurt, discontentment, through apathy, through boredom even. We sometimes let out soul roam wherever it pleases – to negative thoughts, to self pity and self centredness. We let our hearts be restless. We let it wander away from God. But like a homing beacon, we hear the call of God. Like a whisper over the seas calling 0ur hearts home again.
Our intent and focus may change, may shift away from God, but God’s love and intent for us never changes. His love for us never fails (Psalm 136). He’s the Father who watches and waits for His son to return home, ready to run the moment He catches a glimpse of him and welcome him home. Nothing we ever do can separate us from the love of God. No lonesome road that we travel down will ever stop us being found, being loved by Him.
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:7-12)
I have heard it said that there is no angry way to say bubbles. Come to think of it you could say the same of cupcakes. Both light, pretty little joys of life. Anyway, why one would be angry and trying to say bubbles or cupcakes I cannot say.
Many years ago I was a volunteer at Radio Lollipops at Starship Children’s Hospital. Along with running a Radio station for the hospital we also spent time visiting the kids, playing games and doing activities with them. It was an opportunity to take their minds of their illnesses. The one activity I enjoyed the most was being in the Atrium blowing bubbles. It was always so popular with the little ones. They loved chasing the bubbles, trying to pop them, and even just watching them. I must admit spending an hour blowing bubbles and watching happy little faces was a refreshment for me and gave me as much joy.
Everyone needs some bubbles in their life. Little joys to brighten our days. Joy is something that God wants us to have in life. Joy is defined as a “triumph, cheerful and a calm delight, a deep feeling of contentment.” Some have described it as “the feeling of grinning inside.” It is something that should reside beneath the surface. Joy is not happiness which is a feeling and comes and goes. It is also not based on our circumstances. As Richard Wagner once said “joy is not in things, it is in us.” As Christians we have access to a joy that exists regardless of what our circumstances are like. Jesus said “I have come that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10)
More joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees. (Psalm 4:6)
Time to start blowing bubbles again!
I could hazard a guess that if I were to ask how you were the word “busy” would appear at some point in your answer. It seems to be the default answer nowadays and almost what we are expected to say. Busy means successful and fulfilled right? We wear the “busy” like a badge of honour as if it is something to aspire to. Yet answering “busy” says nothing about our enjoyment of life or even whether we are “achieving” in life! Being busy should not be our identity or goal. If anything it merely suggests an overwhelmed schedule. More often than not the answer “busy” is given with an undertone of tiredness and exhaustion.
In the pace of busyness it is our personal margins of space that are neglected. The time to take a pause, to rest is what is sacrificed and we are easily left overwhelmed, tired and feeling much like we’re only one nostril above water. Yet, in this life where technology keep us continually connected to work and the online world we can find space in the pace. We can find balance within the crazy.
We find it in GRACE. God’s grace.
Grace is an important and powerful spiritual reality. It is a resource that we have unlimited access to through Jesus. God’s grace helps and empowers us through busy seasons of life. In the crazy pace of life God has grace for us. It is fuel, it is a supernatural enabling for us. God’s grace empowers and strengthens us.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
At 3am the storm hit – hail and thunder, pounding rain. And with it came the cold. Shortly after, my 4 year old clambered into our bed, feet and hands like ice blocks. Winter had announced its arrival. We knew it was coming of course. But the glorious long summer that we had been enjoying disappeared in an instant. You see apart from the mountainous pile of leaves that my oak tree had shed one could easily be forgiven for thinking that Autumn had not yet come, let alone winter.
Just last week, in the heat and mugginess of the day, shop windows with their winter knit displays seemed absurd. Today they looked delicious and compelling. This year the start of winter has been abrupt (and dispruptive!). We weren’t seduced into its arms by cooler evenings and fresh breezes, it just brashly arrived. And so flannelette sheets have urgently made their way onto the boys’ beds.
Our lives also have seasons. Seasons of growth and opportunities, seasons of rest, seasons of change. It is so important to embrace the season that we are in. Seasons of change are fluid and temperamental with uncertainty and restlessness. Seasons of rest are quiet but filled with the grace of God. But whatever the season, each season prepares for the next. The season of rest prepares for the season of change and gives you the strength and reserves for it. The season of change often precedes the one of growth. Just has nature has a pattern in the seasons so do our lives.
The change in season may be gentle as spring makes its gracious entrance with new growth pushing through the soil or may be as abrupt as the Winter that has appeared today. As my oak tree sheds its last leaf its energy will be going into its roots, growing strong so that in the Summer it can take the weight of its new leaves and acorns. I don’t know what season of life you are in but remember it is important. Do not be discouraged or compare yourself with anyone else; simply be obedient to what God has called you to in this moment on this day in this particular season. What goes on in someone else’s field is for them to tend and nurture. Our responsibility is for our field.
Don’t fight the season! Understand that there is gold in every single stage of life. I’m embracing winter now – the duvets, the hot drinks, the scarves and my red polka dot umbrella will be much enjoyed!
I heard recently of a man who proposed everyday for a year to his girlfriend without her knowing. This man from the United States made a video for his girlfriend that showed each of the 365 days he asked for her hand in marriage. On her birthday a year prior he realised how much he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. But he wanted to propose to his girlfriend in a way that would show her how much he loved her and demonstrate that he thought about her every day.
So every day for a year he recorded himself holding a whiteboard with a marriage proposal written on it. Each day the proposal was recorded with the guy in various settings – at work, doing his teeth, walking on the beach, doing laundry, standing with random animals. Always though, the message was the same – “I love you, will you marry me?” . On his girlfriend’s birthday a year later, he gave her the video. And sitting by herself she got to watch a marriage proposal that spanned a year – every single day of the year a proposal was recorded. When she had finished watching the video she turned around and there he was with the same whiteboard on his knee asking her to marry him.
Rather romantic proposal I’d say!
It reminded me of God. God is always thinking of us, always wanting to demonstrate his love for us. Sometimes our circumstances and situations may lead us to believe that God is absent and our prayers aren’t being answered, but rest assured God is ALWAYS thinking of us! His thoughts towards us are always good and kind! Just like the romantic guy, God is working behind the scenes in our lives for our good and for our blessing. Every day He is demonstrating His love for us.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Yes, the journeys of Lego Batman continues in my household! And this time it included his sidekick Robin! You’d think that I’d have been more vigilant. And you’re right – I have been. Lego Batman does not get to go on outings with my 3 year old anymore. I now add a disclaimer – the outings I know about!
It all started (restarted!) with a trip out to a birthday party. Boys entered the house with no toys in tow, or so I thought. But once we were back in the car, fill of cake and other goodies, the 3 year old started talking about lego batman and Robin. We arrived home and looked for them, to no avail. It then dawned on me that as I wrapped the birthday present, my 3 year old was busy wrapping his lego into some paper as well. But where was that bundle of squished paper. I surmised that somehow it had ended up with the actual present. An embarrassed text was then sent to our friends to errr look through their rubbish! Thankfully said lego figures were discovered in a squished bundle of wrapping paper. And another happy reunion ensured.
So what’s the lesson in this? Other than check and check again what gets taken out of the house! It made me think again of little things. This time though, of how little things can easily and quickly get away from us. Unnoticed, unchecked and with not so nice consequences – (I had friends going through their rubbish for us!) It’s the little food items that sneak into our daily diets and then we’re faced with needing to lose weight. Or the little white lies that seem innocent and barely noticeable that grow into bigger deceits and bigger consequences. Maybe it’s the taking shortcuts at work or the letting that speeding needle creep up too much.
Sometimes, it’s worthwhile having a little stock take of our lives, and recalibrating things before they get away from us.
PS If you know how to put GPS on little toys let me know!