Today I woke up with no words to share. I felt like I poured them all out and the spicket dried up. Then I went to church.
The pastor who’s known me since I was 12, greeted me at the door. As this man who counseled and married Adam and I hugged me, I felt tears well up that I didn’t know existed.
I was home.
I was among the familiar. I was safe.
I remember being in Sunday School with Carolyn Rothrock teaching me the books of the Old Testament. I remember shouting “approved workman are not ashamed” on Wednesday night AWANA meetings. I remember walking upstairs to the youth room with my then boyfriend by my side. I remember the day this pastor introduced us as Mr. and Mrs. Adam Steck.
All that to say, this little Bible church holds volumes of sweet childhood memories. And then I realized it: My soul needed to rest.
This year has been epic. Monumental. Historic.
We’ve walked from mountain peak to mountain peak, with little valley in-between. We’ve thought of moving, realized we’re staying, parted ways with Lifegroup members, closed and opened new books with new chapters.
We’ve walked out on faith and done the uncomfortable and now, we just want the ordinary.
The high energy Julie that loves people, adventure and variety just wants routine and consistency.
I want to see familiar faces, go where “Everybody knows your name….and they’re always glad you came.”
It may not take faith to do that. Maybe that’s why my faith is tired. The adrenaline needs a break.
Yet on the other hand, it does take faith to rest. In resting, I release my hold, my controlled grip on the situation and say, Lord, I trust you with this.
I don’t have to be climbing mountains for you to love and accept me. You love and accept me right here. In my rest.
As Pastor Craig began teaching, I couldn’t stop writing. His words nourished shriveled places in my soul. So today, I just want to share those words. They are words about faith, but at a different perspective. As my friend Maggie puts it with her precious humor, sometimes a change in perspective is what we need.
So here are Craig’s words, put in my own words.
When Abraham was 110 years old, God led him to Mt. Moriah to sacrifice his promised Son, Isaac. With him were two servants. When they got to the mountain, they left the servants behind. Isaac carried the wood and fire and together they began to climb.
At one point, Isaac asked, “I see the wood and fire but what about the lamb?” Abraham replied, “God will Himself provide the sacrifice.”
And God did.
As soon as Abraham’s hand lifted to slay his son, an angel of the Lord stopped him. In the distance they saw a ram caught in the bushes – the perfect sacrifice, right on time.
We often measure ourselves by Abraham. We think we need his faith. We fail and beat ourselves up when we do not have it. We struggle to be better and yet, we are powerless.
Have you ever stopped to think of the faith of Isaac? He received life that he did not earn.
In the same way, I cannot earn the life I have been given. My works do not merit God’s favor and blessing. They merit judgement.
My merit rests on another – not on my works, or on what I’ve done, but on Christ. In Him, I am fully blessed, fully accepted and fully forgiven.
Today I recognize I am like Isaac, the one who has been resurrected. A new creation living in the riches of Grace. The work of God was done through Jesus. As a result, I can rest, celebrate and have joy in Him.
Jesus Christ has made me acceptable. He’s working in my life and will bring glory to Himself.
Yes. So many times I look up to Abraham, a great grandfather of the faith. But, wow, to realize I am more like Isaac – receiving the gift of life not because of anything I have done. Just receiving. Rest for my soul. Fuel for my faith.
I pray you are encouraged. Not to go and do more my friend. Our faith, when it is true cannot help but shine and bear good fruit. But we needn’t worry and fret about that. Our faith can rest in Him alone. And sometimes rest is exactly what we need.