We all get tired. Even Jesus needed to recharge from time to time.
There’s no sin in taking time out. Part of being human is we need to stop and recover from time to time physically, emotionally and Spiritually.
The key is to allow ourselves the time to do so.
The last couple of weeks I’ve been on a forced physical rest. I got sick. Not something that happens a lot, but when it happens, it hits hard. I had a viral infection that left me unable to walk in a straight line. Labyrinthitis. It’s a disorder of the inner ear and it left me unable to stand, read, write, walk, watch TV. Basically all I could do was sleep. Not something I’m historically good at.
So for most of the last 2 weeks I’ve slept and listened to sermons on mp3.
I’ve rested in a way I’ve not done for longer than I can remember.
Physically I’m not 100%, but I’m going back to work anyway. I can see straight, and the world is no longer doing circuits around my head when I sit up, lie down or do any form of exercise… like blinking. Hopefully my decision is the right one.
But I’m very aware I need more.
I have a hunger to go into the mountains and sit by a river, watching the eagles fish. Maybe catch a glimpse of one of the wild leopards that live in the area. Perhaps watch the weavers build their hanging nests over the water. Just surround myself with Creation and let it revitalise me.
Jesus used to go to the mountains to be alone with God. He went after feeding the 5000 to be with His Father and mourn John the Baptist’s murder. He knew how important it is to preserve this frail shell we walk about in. To go where we can quiet our mind away from the storms of life.
There’s a place not far from my home called Jongensgat where I used to go with my wife. 2 wooden cottages on a reserve with tortoises, buck, dassies and a multitude of birds. But the best part is there’s no cellphone reception, no TV in the houses, nothing except what you take with you. It’s a great place to just go and be. We spend our entire existence doing and forget we are human beings.
It’s a place to rest. Peaceful, tranquil. Choose your adjective. Amazing. Clear nights give unrivalled display of the Milky Way looking out South where the next land is Antarctica. It puts a real perspective on what I am, and how much I must mean to God that in all that around me, I still matter to Him.
I get to recharge there.
It’s not the only place I feel able to relax, but it’s the only one I know of with no internet, cellphone etc.
It’s vital for us to remember we are not indestructible. We need to rest. I learned that in the last two weeks. It’s easy to forget sometimes.
Every part of our life needs time to recuperate. If Jesus needed to take time out away from the buzz of life, how much more do we?
Modern life decries any need for rest as laziness or weakness, yet God initiated the Sabbath for a reason. We can only work so long before we break down. God designed us to work six days, then rest for one. Jesus rested when he needed it, He wasn’t afraid to take time out to recuperate.
So why should we be?
It’s not weakness to stop after working to rest. It’s a basic human need. Like eating or drinking. Nobody expects us to function without food or drink, but rest seems to be a different story. Taking down-time has been slowly whittled away as a right, and more and more we are expected to take pay in lieu of leave, but money can’t buy rest.
Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)
“I will give you rest”. Such a seemingly innocuous statement, yet such a powerful image. Consider psalm 23 “He makes me lie down in green pastures”. Through the whole Bible, too many times to quote, the image of resting in God’s presence comes through again and again.
Perhaps that is why the World rails against rest. It’s a place where we can connect with God on an intimate level. Consider the way technology has invaded our every part. Everything goes through the tablet, smartphone or laptop these days. It’s almost unheard of for someone not to have a TV any more.
My wife and I don’t watch TV, just a few select videos and movies of our own choice. We avoid news broadcasts, because frankly they’re depressing and there’s the advantage of not having adverts thrown in. It means we have absolute control over what comes into our home – and we can watch what we find helps us recharge.
Take the time to switch off your phone tonight. Talk to your family. Play a board game with your kids. Buy a board game to play with your kids…
Switch off, tune in to God.
And let Him give you rest.