A friend and I were making the long drive from Calgary to Vancouver. We enjoyed the majestic mountain scenery and lively conversation. We also encountered several areas of road construction which slowed us down. In one of these areas we idled for 30 minutes, waiting for the backlog of traffic on the one open lane to clear, so we could take our turn. We had been moving again for mere minutes when I spotted a sign that struck me as very amusing. It said “BC is Idle Free”.
The sign was there prior to the road construction but its placement now in the middle of this work zone, where we had no choice but to idle, struck me as very ironic. It also made me think of times in my life when my schedule was so full that I longed to be idle for a while.
When I stopped to think about it, I realized that what I needed was rest, not idleness. Rest recharges and rejuvenated. Idleness wastes time.
The Bible promotes rest. Jesus often withdrew to a quiet place to rest. In Proverbs, we are also told us that idleness and a productive life don’t go hand in hand. If I want the life God has planned for me, there will be no idling allowed.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NLT
We had done a lot of walking on our vacation but still felt we needed more exercise. One morning we got up a little earlier and headed out to walk in the lazy river. Our plan was to walk against the current. When we arrived, we found that, during this time set aside for exercise, everyone was going with the flow.
The water was four feet deep and the current was strong. This made it difficult, but not impossible, to go against it. We did two laps against the current, then two laps with the current and repeated this several times. This resulted in a good workout for us. I saw a younger couple observing us before deciding to try this, too. Surprised by the difficulty, they quickly changed their minds and went back to the easier route.
So it is with life. I have often been faced with the option of going with the flow, taking the easier, more popular route. Many times I have taken this route as I wanted to be part of the crowd and not the one going the other way. Unfortunately I have done this when I knew that the more difficult route was the one more beneficial.
What I have learned is that when I let Jesus guide me, he chooses my route. Though it may look like the current is too strong for me, I must remember that I am not navigating this on my own. There is nothing I will face that Jesus can’t get me through. Later, I’m sure he will grant me times of rest and refreshment when I can coast down the lazy river of life for a time.
But he told me: “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I will brag even more about my weaknesses in order that Christ’s power will live in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 GWT
The once beautiful bouquet of flowers had now wilted. Their heads drooped, petals fell and the leaves were crisp and dry. They had been like this for days before I finally disposed of them. My reasoning for keeping them was that even in this state, they reminded me of the beauty and fragrance that had been present in previous days.
As I removed the flowers from the vase, I was reminded that nothing lasts forever. The joys in my life need to be savored in the moment and stored as beautiful memories. Sometimes, like cut flowers, they will be gone far too quickly. Just as these flowers were an unexpected gift, so are many things that happen in my life.
I choose to view my life as the perennial flowers in my garden. They bloom for a season, one lovely blossom being replaced by the next. Then they have a season where they appear dormant. This time of rest prepares them for the next phase, when they will burst forth into renewed life as the seasons change once again.
As I think of my wilted flowers I choose not be sad that they are gone, but to be thankful that I had the opportunity to enjoy them in the first place. They brightened my life in the short time they were here. At some point I will again enjoy a bouquet of flowers. They will not be identical to the ones I had, but will each bring their own beauty into my life. I trust God to provide the fragrance of new beginnings and the season of rest, all in his perfect timing.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1Peter 1 23-25 NIV
Be inspired this week.