I want to be on fire for God, but sometimes I feel more like the worn edges of two sticks that were furiously rubbed together but never produced a spark.
We aren’t even halfway through the year, and I have been to four funerals in almost as many months. I have tried to find light from each of the lives I mourned, to formulate a takeaway, some kind of life lesson that will make sense of all this sorrow. I did okay at first, feeling a heightened gratitude for my own life and the people in it.
The gift of death is that it edges life, delineating what matters most. Because of the sorrow, we see clearer, act more deliberately, and love more purposely. All the unimportant things that sent us into a frenzy are momentarily deemed inconsequential. The stark contrast between life and death gives us a clearer perspective and realigns priorities.
So, you would think with all this newfound enlightenment, I would be ablaze with the word of God. Instead, I feel numb. I am craving normalcy, but I am unsure what that looks like anymore. Families that are dear to me have lost mothers and fathers, and I have lost cherished friends. Meanwhile, life keeps burning like a wildfire in the brush. And yet I know that is what is supposed to happen, that things can’t stop, that life must go on despite our losses.
But I am parched. I am tired. I am done with death. I don’t want any more enlightenment. I don’t want to look for the silver lining. I don’t want to buy any more sympathy cards or tell anyone else I am sorry.
I accept God’s will, the universality of suffering, and that death is life’s counterpart. I also realize the need for respite, to retreat, and to contemplate the resurrection.
Right now, I am searching for water in the desert, not lighting the world on fire. And I believe that’s okay with God. He recognizes the need for us to rest, to seek solace, and to renew ourselves. In his mercy, he will quench my thirst.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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” (Matthew 11:28-29).
My respite isn’t a break from God, but a need to bask in his compassion. He isn’t just God in his mightiness when I am desperate for strength. He is also the God of tenderness when I feel puny. He has everything I need: strength, peace, mercy, love, rest, and joy.
Typically, I view God as the answer to all my endless questions. He’s omnipotent, and I seek his truth, so that I may know mine. He helps me understand myself better and my place in the world. And I get so used to going to him for answers that I forget he is the answer. I forget that I don’t have to be fire. I can allow myself to be refreshed and renewed in him. And it’s an incredible relief to contemplate that. No more questions. No more figuring. No more fight. Just enough rest to feel the spark of a better tomorrow.
How do you renew yourself when you need respite?
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