I dragged my suitcase down the concourse, its polka dot cheer belying my mood. Behind my set-in-place smile – put there to prove to anyone watching that I was, indeed, a joyful woman loved by God – my leg hurt and I wasn’t looking forward to the two hour torture inflicted by sitting on a plane.
Oh, I was thoroughly grateful for God’s anointing and provision in lifting me above my weird pain as I spoke over the weekend. I marveled that he always uses messy folks – like me with my bum leg – to meet the needs of his people. But honestly, the hours that loomed between me and my destination (home) drove dread into my heart. Oooh, what if I was seated next to someone who needed to talk? Or who needed to know the Jesus I was actually clinging to just to take the next step in my day? I wasn’t sure I had any more offering to offer. In fact, I was pretty sure I didn’t.
After a few weeks of discomfort, I’d marched through the diagnostic steps to reveal that I had a herniated disc. My leg was numb and tingling and shooting pain because the jelly stuff in my back had oozed out from its healthy home into foreign territory. What to do? Physical therapy. Injection. Surgery? Some of these “remedies” I’d already ticked off my list but in this moment, walking from A to B, none was helping.
In Mark 1:32-34, after Jesus had healed Peter’s mother-in-law and had driven out an evil spirit from a man in the synagogue, he was asked for more. “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many …” These “extra” events probably took him the better part of the night. No one could accuse Jesus of kicking back on the job.
And then the very next morning Jesus got up early and went away to pray, to be alone and away from the demands of ministry.
Perhaps Jesus took his cue from his heavenly Father. Thousands of years before Jesus took a break in Mark 1, God himself rested. After creating the world and all that inhabits it, “…God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:3)
I slowed my pace, checked my phone and discovered that I had another thirty minutes before the flight. Lifting my head from focusing on my pain, I noticed an empty row of seats at an unoccupied gate – facing a bright window with sunshine streaming in. I eased my body into one seat and slid my legs horizontally next to me and leaned back. There. To top off the moment, I snapped a photo of my happy little rest spot.
Sure, I still had the walk to the gate, sit through the two-hour plus flight and the pain in my being remained, but in this moment, I rested. Intentionally I chose to stop. The effort-ceasing choice made me better. Not permanently, but surely, for the moment.
How about you? What pains you today? Are you stuck between where you are and where you need to be “done” for a bit in order to recoup?
Stop what you’re doing right now and come apart before you come apart. Grab hold of the reality that when you invest in rest, you invest in making yourself a better person, a better spouse, a better parent, a better worker and a better friend.
Want to be better at life? Rest.