"The Lord replied, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?'" (Exodus 33:14-16, NIV)
We’re not known for having the most orthodox of lives, at least in comparison to our North American compatriots. My alarm may go off at the same time every day, my kids may go to the same school at the same hours most days, and I’m nearly always struggling to find something in the pantry for dinner most nights. But apart from that, the rhythm of our days—our errands, our meetings, our plans—are a bit, well, manic. Most days, I love it.
And then the snow hits.
Remember the snow? That week-long Beast from the East? That storm threw into chaos even the most predictable of routines. Oh, sure, it was gorgeous for a day or two; a pleasant surprise from the usual days of school, ministry and meals. Kids were outside building igloos and snowmen and you’d chat to your neighbors over shovels and sand. For a few days, it felt ALMOST restful. But with the takeaways closed and roads uncleared, eventually cabin fever sets in. And chaos, at some point, would surely ensue.
Except it didn’t, not really, not for us.
I wondered why that was—why, even with my husband away and a week off school, we all didn’t go absolutely mad. And then I realized: we had warning.
A week before that arctic blast hit, we were given time to prepare, do our shopping, and mind our errands. We stocked up on milk and bread, frozen pizzas, and petrol. Though we didn’t ask for it, and didn’t necessarily want it, we planned for this time of forced rest. And when the snow hit, we were cuddled up with candles and cocoa and Netflix for dayssssss.
How often do you plan for rest? I know I don’t! Apart from the Saturday morning lie-in, we push our sabbaths to the back of the calendar, waiting for that miraculous "perfect timing." We maintain the wild rhythm while ignoring the fermatas—the prolonged (and often necessary) pauses in the melody. As someone who spent a few years in choral music, the fermata was often the note I most looked forward to, when the choir, in unison, held a note aloft…and then, the deep breath we took together, before we sang again.
The New Testament shows us Jesus’ unorthodox schedule, the crowds that followed Him, the disciples who littered him with questions and suggestions. But nearly as often, it shows us his periods of rest, quietness, time away with the Father. We don’t know how he planned for it (the authors conveniently leave that bit out!), but we know He could not go on doing the Father’s work if not for the rest, the pause, the fermata in unison with God.
So let’s not wait till the next big storm. Let’s plan for it now, to write the pauses into our days and weeks, to rest with the Father so we can better know His will.
Working (and resting!) with you,
"Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, 'Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'" (Mark 6:31, NIV)
Is there a direct correlation between our weariness and our nearness to God (or the recognition of His nearness to us)?
How can “rest in God’s presence” distinguish us from the rest of the world?
Where in your daily/weekly rhythm can you hold a few moments/hours of rest? What’s something fun or unorthodox you can plan that will give restoration to you and your family?