As I sit at my desk, I can see a beautiful garden with palm trees, bamboo, cactus, and at least a dozen plants I cannot yet name. The sun is shining and there are big, billowy clouds mounding up over the mountain ridge a few miles away. The sun lights one side of a high rise while shadows deepen on the other facade. And I’m thinking back on the lesson my husband taught last Sunday, We Groan, We Glory.
“You will find rest for your soul!” A bit of scripture. A declaration. A promise. This kept popping out from hiding in the corners of my mind.
My latest reading is Thomas Wingfold, Curate, by George MacDonald. One of the very first sermons this curate preached after beginning his real search for God was on the text in Matt. 11: 28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)
We need rest for our souls when we are tired from carrying heavy loads. Cross-cultural workers have a lot of those. We can get exhausted from work, fretting, or disappointments. A heart-deadening load settles on us when someone we love rejects the God we love so much. We compare abundance and abject poverty and wonder how to make sense of it all. Even our spiritual service deadens us when it becomes heartless spiritual activity.
This Christmas season, Mike and I have the joy of being with our family and friends in America. Our family members are all well, and for that we are grateful. We pray it will always be so.
We have many friends here, however, who are going through severe trials. One is fighting breast cancer; another has a daughter who is in treatment for a serious addiction. Other friends have a grown daughter having headaches so severe that they make her (and her parents) cry. The headaches have lasted for months. They came following surgery for a tumor on the otic nerve, the nerve that controls hearing. Compared to these headaches, they tell us, a migraine is unremarkable.