This might sound a little odd, but there are two things that I have consistently wanted throughout my life. One is a rocking chair, and the other is a hammock. The desire for other things has come and gone, but the desire for these two things has stubbornly persisted. I think that somehow, they have represented the rest or peace I spent much of my life searching for. Perhaps I felt that if I just had these two things in my home, I would be able to simply kick back, relax, be myself and find peace. Add some acoustic guitar or piano, and I might totally bliss out.
And yet, I have never owned a rocking chair or hammock.
Kind of strange, right? Compared to other parts of the world, both are readily available where I live, and I do have the financial means. Both items are relatively inexpensive and fairly low maintenance to own. They might perhaps need some tender-loving care from time to time to keep them in good working condition.
Even as I write this, the thought of one day having one or the other brings me peace as I imagine the gentle movement each offers soothing my somewhat anxious heart.
Now friends, please hear me out on this, I am not asking you to buy me anything. If you know me well, you know that I have a very specific vision of what they will look like, and I don’t generally settle. I can be very exacting which is a slightly annoying trait. If I knew how to draw up the specs, I would have sketched out the rocking chair decades ago for a woodworking craftsman to put together for me. I also probably would have leaned in so that I could inspect his work, providing input and direction as he worked. Yes, I am that guy (or girl, in my case).
I sometimes envy those who have these items already, but I trust God, His provision and timing. I am also not afraid to wait, joyfully and expectantly, for I have learned to be patient, even when I may one day learn that God’s answer for these or other things I want, is a hard “no.”
God is still good, and He knows what is best for me.
It also doesn’t mean I am living a life of deprivation, suffering, or pining away by not simply going after what I want. Admittedly, it might be a fast of sorts as I have been blessed with the means to buy just about anything that can be purchased and that I want to make myself happy. After all, the world tells me to squeeze every drop of happiness I can out of this life for I don’t know when my days will end. While this is partly true, my heavenly Father, who is patient with me beyond my hopes and expectations, asks me to wait.
This life is good and can be enjoyed in God’s presence and as an expression of worship of His goodness. But eternity is better.
In this life, God is present but we may not always feel His presence. His invitation for us into relationship through His Son is a gift of His grace and mercy. This is not a matter of religion to be practiced or a quest to be a better, more moral person. God promises His Spirit to the person who accepts this gift and puts their faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. Because I have accepted this gift, He will also be waiting with open arms for me when my time comes to leave this world.
Because of this, how could I not want to honor this most precious relationship in all that I say and do, and in all that I am? How could I not find unspeakable and unending joy as I delight in this very fact?
The fact is, I can, and I do.
My anxious heart longs for home with a capital “H.” And yet paradoxically, even in missing those things in this world that I once craved and chased after, my life is good. It is full of joy and peace, and my delight is in Him.
A Borrowed Hammock
While visiting friends recently, I asked if I could rest in their hammock for a bit. As I lay there that lazy summer day, being carried by the hammock as it gently swayed back and forth, I admired the beautiful blue sky and felt the warm sunlight. I reflected on God’s goodness in my life, and I was reminded of my need to rest in His presence. He is the source of my peace. Laying in that hammock was not just about a physical, mental, or emotional rest, although those are necessary for my mind and body. The rest I needed was for my world-weary heart which can get easily fatigued by the sin, suffering and evil in this world that disrupts relationship. This is a daily reminder of my human frailty and limitations, and for those, there is grace.
The rest that hammock afforded me was a means of God’s grace.
The rest that I was seeking that day was a soul rest. I needed a preview of eternity. What I needed most was time spent in the presence of my Savior and my Lord. I needed to delight in Him and to reflect on His goodness in my life. This brought me peace.
The kind of rest I received allows me to continue to dream God-sized dreams for myself and others. It allows me to persevere in working toward these goals, adjusting the sails as I go. The kind of rest I received enables me to do the work I am asked to, and to leave the outcomes to my Father in heaven whose plans and purposes are good.
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:3-4, NIV).
Resting in Him again tonight and praying for God’s peace for you my friend.
Love you more. ~Alison