I have a confession to make. Even as I have written about the importance of taking time to rest, recreate, and enjoy God and His creation, this summer the wheels of my life have been churning too fast. I look back and see that a frenetic work schedule crowded out needed refreshment and recreation time in my life.
I don’t write this lightly. It’s a big deal, not pleasing to God and not healthy for me. Last week God reminded me once again that a necessary part of a life of worship is rest and time away with Him. I recalled that a friend once told me the root word of vacation is “vacate”, or physically going away to get refreshed. As I prayed about this failure on my part, a Scripture passage came to mind: the call of the lover in the Old Testament Book entitled Song of Songs:
“Come away, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains” (Song of Songs 8:14)
God was calling me to vacate the treadmill of activity I was immersed in to come away with Him to a place outside the realm of work commitments and the daily grind. There are many powerful passages in the Bible that speak about the need for rest and time away with God is. Here are just a few that came to me:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In returning to Me and resting in Me you shall be saved; in quietness and in trusting confidence shall be your strength. But you would not” (Isaiah 30:15)
My first reaction upon reading this was ‘Ouch!’ as I reflected on the times this summer when I spurned God’s offer for His strength gained through resting in Him. But later in that same chapter God, speaking to the people of Israel, spoke His grace to my heart again:
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18)
It was more and more clear that God was calling me to come away, rest in Him, and wait for Him regarding the concerns and activities of my life.
Jesus practiced “vacating” from the daily grind on a regular basis. Check this out:
“…Jesus withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” Matthew 14:13
Vacating—going away from the frantic activities of life and ministry— was something Jesus practiced with His closest followers as well:
“So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” Mark 6:32
The intersection of my need for rest and God’s call for me to come away with Him led me to my knees. I asked God to forgive me for neglecting this part of worship, and asked Him to help my wife and I to find the financial means to get away to a quiet place— a place of His choosing— for a couple of days. Interestingly, later that day we got an unexpected check from an overpayment on our auto insurance.
Coincidence? I choose to believe it was God’s answer to my prayer.
Last night my wife and I searched for vacancies at a hotel on the North Shore of Minnesota that we stayed at several years ago. We prayed and asked for God’s direction and wisdom. When I called to make reservations, I was told there was only one room left for the 3 days we requested, and it faced Lake Superior. It was within our budget. We immediately booked it.
I believe it is the place God set aside to meet with us.
Our reservations are made. With God’s blessing we will soon vacate for a few days to enjoy Him, each other, and the beauty that He created for His pleasure and our enjoyment.
I pray that you will not neglect the need for time away with God as part of a life of worship.
Blessings to you, my friends!