Going from Here to There: Take Time for Rest

We are all moving from where we are to where we will someday be — going from here to there. Speed and direction determines the time it will take to reach our destination.

The other day, I watched as children rode their bicycles down the street. A young girl peddled leisurely, enjoying the wind in her hair. She stopped to observe the sights and enjoy the people passing around her while also being aware of other traffic coming and going. With her was a small boy, peddling vigorously, his little feet forming whirling circles of blurred motion. He zig-zagged from one curb to the other, onto the neighbor’s lawn, circling an enormous spruce tree before bouncing recklessly back to the street. Then, racing full speed, he veered off the pavement, hitting another tree head on. Oblivious to the large vehicles sharing the street, he blazed his own irregular path! He, too, was enjoying the ride, though different from his companion’s.

Boy riding bicycle

I’ve thought about these two children many times in the last few days. I must admit, I often go from here to there more like the self-absorbed little chap than his cautious friend.

Alert and Ready

No, I’m usually not on my bicycle. I do it in more sophisticated ways: scurrying from errand to errand without noticing (I mean really noticing) those around me; bustling around my home, here to there, checking off tasks from my “to-do list,” without appreciated those I share space with; or starting a “leisurely” walk that turns into a heart-racing marathon instead.

Why do I hurry? Why do I rush?

“Desire without knowledge is not good —
how much more will hasty feet miss the way!”
Proverbs 19:2

Boy with bike

I can’t count how many times I’ve “missed the way” because of rushing too quickly ahead. By God’s grace, He has given me a husband who is rush-aversive! It has taken many years for us to see what a blessing that is. He slows me up when I’m heading full speed into trouble; I speed him up when hesitation, deliberation, and procrastination would prove detrimental. Between us, we move from here to there with thoughtful, purpose.

We both need the Lord to set the pace in our lives, however.

Be Still

A few years ago, over a period of a few days, three times someone reminded me of one of my least favorite Bible verses — not because the verse is the problem, but because I am.

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10

The problem with hurry is that I often miss those special God moments. Moments to settle into worship, where I’m turned inside-out by His grace and set right-side up by His holiness. Moments of sweet encounter with the wonder of who He is. These are the sacred times of remembering His enormity! How good and magnificently wonderful He is!

It takes faith to slow down, faith to rest in the journey, faith to trust God in the process of moving from here to there — from where I am to where He is leading and from who I am to who I will one day be.

Don’t Miss Out

The children of God, many generations ago, made it from here to there — from Egypt to the promised land. In their haste, however, they followed the LONG, painful, costly way. They didn’t understand resting in God while moving with Him.

Girl with Bicycle

They had been slaves in Egypt, working day and night for cruel masters, never experiencing rest from labor. Egypt isn’t my master, but work can be. Hurrying and doing often is.

“There remains, then a Sabbath-rest
for the people of God;
for anyone who enters God’s rest
also rests from their works,
just as God did from his.
Let us, therefore, make every effort
to enter that rest . . .”
Hebrews 4:9-11

Though this passage refers to an eternal rest, at peace with God, forever, it also has daily implications.

God is our example. He worked for six days, creating all that is, and then, He rested. He welcomes us to do the same. It is for our good that we learn to work while there is work to do, deliberately setting aside time to rest — rest in faith, rest in Him.

If we don’t, we like His other children, Israel, will miss out. So it’s important to “make every effort.”

What’s the Hurry?

The children riding their bicycles past our home were enjoying their day, going from here to there and back again just for the fun of it. What is my motivation? Why do I pedal my proverbial bicycle so hard, trying to go so fast?

Child on bicycle

Is it an awareness of the fleeting nature of time? Is it failure to appreciate the moment I’m in right now? Perhaps it’s an invisible drivenness to accomplish or achieve. Maybe I desire to “earn” the favor of my Heavenly Father — a favor I already possess! Is it all the above?

“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6,7

It’s interesting how often the writer’s of Scripture connect prayer to the concept of time. When we tire of our peddling, our zig-zagging through life, we finally come — weary and worn — to sit and rest at His feet.

And He welcomes us there.

Rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

No feverish peddling needed! No futile running into obstacles in our path! Rather, taking time along the journey to “come to” God, abandoning our busyness and the accompanying pressures, finding rest.

God isn’t a cruel slave driver, demanding ever increasing productivity. He is “gentle and humble in heart” — trustworthy and safe. “Come to me!”

Woman on bicycle

So if, or when, you see me peddling like my little neighbor, going fast but getting nowhere, please remind me again to rest along the way as I move from here to there.

What To Do When The Answer is “No”

When the Answer is No

My most difficult times, and yet the best of seasons, is when God’s answer is “no”. What should our response be in those moments of prayer when the answer is, “no”?

This morning I read of someone of faith who received such an answer.

His heart was right,
motivational clean
vision correct
finances in place
detailed plans divinely inspired!

And the answer remained the same,

“You are not to build a house for my Name…”
I Chronicles 22:8

Blueprints

Then God gave his reason for the “no”. God always has good reason when “no” is a far better than “yes”. He is not mean or cruel; even in his “no” there is always love and mercy.

“I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the LORD…” (14) “Great pains” groan the words. We have all painfully

pushed forward against the unmovable
bandaged broken knees and wounded hearts
pushed back tears of agony and rejection
pressed down frustration and disappointment.

Few have not suffered for the sake of others or the cross. Mine pain a shadow of others; others miniature mine. All of us have paid pain’s price to move forward, if but even at tiny step.

The Trend

In the “no” came an incredible opportunity for David! He could stand at open window and breathe deep of the refreshing scent of no’s grace or follow the trend of others:

  • turn your face to the wall and plead with God like Hezekiah
  • go back to bed, get angry, sulk and pledge a hunger strike like Ahab
  • throw in the towel and hope for death like Elijah

Hitting a Brick Wall

I could go on because the bible is full of illustrations of raw humanity in the face of disappointing “nos”.

Seeing God’s Perspective

David opened his eyes enough to see things from heaven’s point of view. Not easy in our upside down thinking! David chose to say, “Yes” to God’s, “No!”

“Yes, Solomon is the one!” echoed David to the heart and will of God, “Solomon will do what I will not.” Why? Because Solomon was

“a man of peace and rest” (9)
in relationship with The Father (10)
walked in God ordained authority (10)
had discretion and understanding (12)
obedient to the law (13)
strong and courageous (13)

Sounds like an excellent candidate to me! Wouldn’t we all love to be surrounded by women and men with this kind of supreme character? Good choice God!

Sometimes it is only in hindsight that we see what a great decision God’s “no” has been in our lives! It is at that point that our reluctant “yes” becomes a very thankful “yes”.

Pass It On

So David came into wholehearted agreement with the will of God blessing his son

in prayer(11)
with direction (12)
in financial resources (14)
with labourers (15)
commissioning his work (16)
commanding leaders to support him (17)

Silver & Gold

In every feasible way David gave Solomon the instruction, the authority and resources to walk out the vision. He held nothing back! What was his, with open arms, he gives liberally to his son. Then he throws the biggest commissioning party ever; the whole nation celebrates the “no” over one life with a profound and joyous “yes”!(Check it out in I Chronicles 29.)

Final Word

“Now devote your heart and soul to seeking
the LORD your God.
Begin to build….”
I Chronicles 22:19

In my mind’s eye, I see this father hugging his son and placing a firm pat on his back, “You can do! Go for it!”

Reminds me of another Leader hundreds of years later,

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26

And the tradition carried on! We see it again with Paul and Timothy, with Barnabas and Mark, Priscilla and Aquilla with Apollos. It is God’s intention for us to join others younger in the faith, or not fully mature in their understanding – equipping, motivating, encouraging and enabling them to go higher and further than us!

What a joy it is; a joy that reflects God’s heart! It is what He is doing in us all!

Remember

David didn’t waste vision or passion; he passed it on, even when God’s answer was, “No!”

Solomon built the temple and experienced the reward on the back of his father’s faithfulness. Without his father support would he have achieved such personal success?

May we always remember those who have paved the way for us

breaking through glass ceilings
breaking down walls of resistance
fighting unseen countless battles on our behalf
at the cost of personal sacrifice and risk
praying for a generation that would follow

What beautiful and powerful illustration of generational synergy because of God’s “No!”

__________

When the Answer is “No”

Lord, I thank You for saying “No”.
What do you want me to learn here?
What can I only see in You through this closed door?
May I have heaven’s perspective
I set aside disappointment and discouragement.
Show me the sons and daughters
I can invest my life in.
You mercy towards me is outrageous!
How loving you are!

__________

More on prayer here:

Intercession – Releasing The Power of The Cross Through Prayer

Prayer – A Personal Invitation None Should Refuse