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Delayed

As we began that wonderful drive across the marshes to get onto Tybee Island Saturday, I wondered why I had given us a couple less hours there for the sake of house work at home. Why did I think it was so important to leave with the beds made, the kitchen cleaned, the bathrooms tidy and in general spend time working towards a best housekeeping award (which will never be given to our place, by the way) when the beauty, peace, rest, and life of the beach was there waiting for us? As I began a solitary run on the beach, I actually got faster and my legs and lungs started feeling stronger the further along I got. The sunshine, the sound and beauty of the waves, the blue sky and the wide open beach were tangible reminders of God’s goodness, consistency, reliability, beauty, harmony and undefeatable shalom. So why was getting to that place not front and foremost in my thoughts and heart, which were instead convinced that laundry and the way my house looked in our absence were a higher priority?

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13:32-37

This passage just sounds threatening and like it might be possible to miss Jesus’ return. I’m pretty sure, unlike some creative writing in the 90’s, God’s return and care of His children won’t include His throwing His arms in the air and saying something like, “Well, I hoped they’d be part of this, but I can’t always get what I want.” What struck me at the beach was that even though it is my favorite place, I had forgotten just how life giving and awesome it is so that the demand for my time seemed reasonably torn between my to do list around our house and my time at the beach. Once I arrived there, I realized how absolutely unreasonable that sense of division actually was. Standing there on the water’s edge, sand beneath my feet, sun warming my skin and huge smile spreading uncontrollably from ear to ear, the idea that our beds were made back in Atlanta just made no difference in the world. I think that may be more what God is reiterating. That which is perishing to easily captures my attention rather than the One who will never rust, spoil or fade. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matt. 11:28-29 Rest for my soul was experienced in small part at the beach, but I tried to grab for it through a clean house. The clean house never gets clean enough to really give my soul rest. I do not come to Jesus for rest, for life, for strength, for counseling, for healing, for correction, for hope, for joy, for peace, etc. but am too easily pulled to the external things around me instead, as if they are equal competitors. Need I even say, they are not.

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.

I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples.

Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.

Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,

and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Is. 55:1-7

“Out of sight, out of mind” and “If you can’t be with the One you love, love the one you’re with” should not describe my reliance upon my creator, redeemer, Father and friend. Would I tarry in seeking Him if I knew Who I was missing? Would I procrastinate by sucking on sandy, rusty canteens if I really believed Living Water was readily available? Would I self soothe with unsatisfying, energy sucking sugary, salty snacks if I realized the Bread of Life had already been broken for me to come and eat? You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 5:39-40 How I look forward to the day when the promises that my bed makes in the early morning is less persuasive to my heart than the promises He has already made and fulfilled and continuing to work out in me. How I look forward to the day when the allure of external, environment peace is less compelling than the Prince of Peace Himself. How I look forward to the day when I can honestly sing with integrity “All of You is more than enough for all of me.” Let it be so soon, by His grace and mercy.

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