Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Soul Searching and Finding Rest

The end of the first half of 2015 is fast approaching— so far it has been a whirl-wind; it is time for some soul-searching. In this mundane chronos, am I practicing what the Lord spoke into this weary saint as 2014 faded away? A look into the Brazen Laver  is sobering.

 The annual change of the calendar takes me by surprise each year; I greet each one with frustration. When the sparkling cider is gone, and the noise makers trodden under foot, nothing seems new; nothing feels new. 2015 began with my resistance to its arrival. I refused to write a list of resolutions, or fill out another prayer card; for it would only get lost in the pages of the One True Word. I desired this New Year to be different—I wanted a word. A word that would guide me through the year. A word I could cling to in tough times. After seeking God and praying for His direction, I christened 2015 with the word I felt Him whisper into my weary soul—Rest. sabbatismos; a lifestyle of Sabbath rest and Sabbath observance. The Greek sabbatismos is an idea far beyond church on Sunday. It is an attitude, a heart condition. This is not a legalistic ritual, but prayerfully seeking a new perspective on the chronos. The Omnipotent One, continues to urge me to rest. A lesson I have not yet fully retained.

The rest that was to govern my year alludes me. While my faith and trust in God does not waver; I still struggle with resting.A Sabbath heart is restful even in the midst of unrest and upheaval,” Mark Buchanan writes; storms definitely describe the year and it is anything but restful. I have had enough upheaval to last a life time. It has brought sickness, heartache, sadness, and betrayals that test the most determined soul.  It is so easy to get caught up in the whirl-wind of chronos and it drains the passion from us. Kairos—God’s divine intervention, is as fleeting as spring after a hard winter.  
Chronos betrays us, always. It devours the beauty it creates. But sometimes chronos betrays itself: it stirs in us a longing for Something Else—Something that the beauty of things in time evokes but cannot satisfy… we end up as the man in Ecclesiastes did: driven, driven, driven, racing hard against chronos, desperate to seize beauty but always gasping smoke, ashes, and thorns. Seeking purpose and finding none, only emptiness (Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God, p. 37).

I am a passionate reader—a half a dozen books a month is my usual habit. Yet, piles of books await for me to get lost in their pages. Piles that once stirred me to read, now seem daunting, and overwhelming. Studying alludes me as well, as I have taken the summer to rest from seminary. This is new territory for me. Days and weeks of wrestling and torture just to pen this journal entry proves exhausting. Reading and writing is so much a part of who I am, that I feel lost. I feel as though I am wandering around—searching for my place in the world. If I don’t read and write, what do I do?  I rest.  

Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness. It is both time on a calendar and a disposition of the heart. It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. Sabbath imparts the rest of God—actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God–the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness… A Sabbath heart is restful even in the midst of unrest and upheaval (pp.3-4). 

One thing I have learned in spending time in His presence, is that worship is the key to rest. When I cease worrying about the cares of this world (Matt. 6:25-34), and I lay at His feet; peace overwhelms me.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:7 NASB

There are many things that vie for my attention; so many cares and distractions. But I must choose, as Mary so wisely did, to sit at His feet and worship. The Martha in me is easily lured into the drama of the day. If I never read another book, if I never pen another page, I will have peace when I rest in Him. Sabbatismos.

The New Year is frustrating, because the strike at midnight changes the chronos, and not the kairos. I want something new…I want kairos. I want to witness the divine intervention of God in my moment and see the change that I have longed for. I must be reminded in the mundane to seek out and choose joy. I must remember the greatest kairos in all eternity—He has already made all things new.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. Rev. 21:5 ESV
He is trustworthy and true. He made all things new long before midnight of 2015. He made me new, and instead of seeking for my circumstances to change, I continue to change. When I rest in Christ, then He abides in me and Christ in me is the hope of glory. And the mundane doesn’t seem so dull after all. I witness the Divine every day through His mercy, grace, and love. 

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