Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
First blog since furlough started. It’s only been a week since we got back to Colorado, though sometimes it feels much shorter and others MUCH longer. I have been thinking a lot about the idea of rest lately (mostly because people keep telling me that is what furlough is for). A friend of mine said that we should be having “active rest”. Now at first glance to me that sounds like an oxymoron. (That is probably because I am so bad at it). I am someone who runs at full steam or is taking a nap; there’s no in between.
But last night I was listening to pastor Matt teaching at church and God really spoke to me. Some back story, Jon and I were supposed to be teaching at church but Jon got really sick and we couldn’t make it. As you can imagine, we were both pretty discouraged by that. But it was totally from the Lord because I needed the word that was brought instead. Matt taught on newness from 2 Corinthians 5:17. (I’ll post the link below so you can hear the teaching if you want). He asked a question of: “are you bringing newness into the lives of people around you?” That was really a convicting question for me. See, in order to bring newness into the lives of people around me, I have to be being renewed. (There’s a word in Greek for “be being” but we don’t have one in English so that’s the best I have).
It is easy for me to fall into intense discouragement when I feel like I am “missing” what I am supposed to be doing. I really enjoy being useful, so a period of resting is hard for me. (Frankly, this probably comes from being my own idol so much of the time. I was to be self-sufficient rather than God-sufficient). I was reading Psalm 27 last night. (If you don’t know it off the top of your head, I HIGHLY recommend pausing here to go read it. It is my favorite Psalm). Verses 3 and 4 say:
Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.
Now so far in my life, I haven’t ever been surrounded by an army or had a war rise against me like David did. But I love that in the face of all that fear, doubt and discouragement, he didn’t say ‘why are you doing this to me God?’ He says that he will be confident in spite of all of that. Why is David so confident, what’s the secret? The key is that David knew who and what he was for. His only prayer despite the insane odds he was facing was to know God more and to rest in Him. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” But, Kristin, says my brain, He also gave them jobs to do. Like in Matthew 28:19-20, “‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to end of the age.’ Amen.” My favorite thing is that the great commission doesn’t say anything different than Matthew 11! Jesus gives them instructions of what to DO, but then tells them the HOW. “Lo, I am with you always”.
Jesus calls us into an active rest. When armies of doubt or discouragement rise up against us, or when we are warring against our selfishness, we can rest in Jesus. When we find ourselves heavy-laden or burdened (even when they are burdens of our own making); Jesus has the power to wipe out those things we battle against, and He is eager to do it. He doesn’t demand that we get to a certain point or clean ourselves up some or do so many good things before He will be our victory. He is already our victory! And the key to holding that victory is to be at rest, in Him. To dwell in Him. And when we do that, we walk in victory. We are renewed. And we can actively bring newness into the lives of people around us, because we are at rest. Ministry must flow from a position of active rest, as a natural result of intimacy with Jesus. Only then can we be the newness the people around us need.
http://livestream.com/calvarychapel/events/5842014 (Here is the link to service last night)