So out of my 47 favorite parts of Handel's Messiah, here is a moment I absolutely love, with one musical theme, and two beautiful texts:
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)
Come unto Him, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and He shall give you rest. Take his yoke upon you, and learn of Him; for His is meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11: 28, 29)
(Here's a link to YouTube, if you want to listen. Skip over to 50:28.)
Why do we have such a hard time resting?
I know, I know, it's that time of year.
But for some of us, it's always that time of year.
We don't stop. We don't slow down. We can't be still.
It makes me wonder:
How much of our busy-ness is driven by fear?
The fear that God is just not enough.
Not enough for my marriage.
Not enough for my children.
Not enough for my mistakes and failures and sin and shame.
Not enough for the pain in my life.
Not enough for the secrets no one knows.
Not enough if I am just me, quiet and still and alone.
A number of clients have said to me over time, "As long as I stay busy, I'm fine."
Yeah. I know that feeling.
I just realized something, just this minute, while I was writing.
Our first two words for Advent were "receive" and "trust."
Those are both states of being that depend on someone else, and not me.
If I'm receiving, someone has to be giving, and if I'm trusting, someone has to be trustworthy.
"Rest" is kind of like that, too.
If I'm resting, there has to be safety.
And my safety--physical, emotional, spiritual--depends on God, and not me.
Wow, so maybe this whole 4 words for Advent series is all about the character of God, and how it impacts my life, when I know the One who loves and gives and is completely trustworthy for everything my soul needs.
That was totally unplanned on my part. (I always suspect prevenient grace under these circumstances.)
Cease striving, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
This is the story of Advent: that God intervenes in human history, with power and love, in completely unexpected ways, for our good and His glory.
It's true that when I think of how I can make things better, there's just not enough. It can't be okay again.
So I have to be busy about trying to fix it. Or I have to be busy about trying to forget it.
But God. But God. But God.
No matter how crazy and out-of-control everything seems to be, God can always be trusted to redeem.
And the more I trust Him, and the more I receive from Him, the more I experience that He is enough. Far more than enough, beyond my imagination.
When I have experienced that to be true, I have the courage to stop being busy, and to find, once again, that God is enough, in my fear for today.
There is a fountain. It never runs dry.
There is rest for my soul.