Sunday, October 25, 2015

Detoxing from Life


Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” – Psalms 143:7-8

Yesterday afternoon I had the rare chance to just sit and think and enjoy being outside.  It’s in those quiet times when I can unload the cares of life and just sit and enjoy the life around me.  Sitting there and listening to the crickets chirp, the squirrels jump from tree to tree, and an occasional bull frog croak, something occurred to me.  While we are covered up in the events of life and all its burdens, life is still going on around us in this peaceful manner that we sometimes neglect. 
While I may be stressing over a bad work day, crickets are happy to just rub their legs together and communicate with each other.  While I’m trying to fit more into my schedule than would fit a 30 hour day, leaves are gently falling in a beautiful dance of flips and twists and floating turns.  Life is not supposed to be a hurried race of full schedules and anxiety!  It only becomes that when we step away from the real plans God has for our lives and become consumed by life itself. 

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 when He is praying for us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  He understands the work we have to do to get by here on earth and all its burdens.  But he also understands that the rest we need won’t come from a weekend off.  It comes from Him.  He gives rest, “rest for your souls”. 
We get side tracked, derailed even.  We bury ourselves in things we need to do, think we should do, or others think we should do.  Yet in 1 Peter 5:6-11 Peter tells us that we should cast all our worries on God because HE CARES for us.  And immediately after that he tells us that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour us!  There is a relation.  Being God- minded gives us the ability to drop our worries and turn to Him for strength, where that being world-minded only causes us to implode, to be completely overwhelmed by life. 

Nature is a great detox for the stress of life, and for good reason.  Nature reveals God’s invisible attributes (Romans 1:20) through all that He has made.  Throughout His word it is through nature and analogies of nature that He tells us He loves us.  The grass of the field is taken care of – and so will we be (Matthew 6:31). The birds of the air are taken care of – fed daily – and so we will be because we’re even more valuable to Him that they are (Matthew 6:26).  He lays us down in green pastures, beside the stillness of calm water (Psalms 23:2).  It is through nature that God reveals so much of Himself.  Even on the mountain with Moses, it was through thunder, lightning, winds, fire, and earthquakes even that His presence was known. 
King David felt the stress of life on many occasions.  Some of the most passionate prayers recorded are his to God to remove the stress and worrisome situations he endured, which are found in Psalms.  Time and time again, David sought God’s help in prayer.  Psalms 23 is one of those, but Psalms 143:7-8 reveals something slightly mentioned, but of great importance.  David says “Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to THE PIT. Let me hear in the morning of your STEADFAST LOVE, for in YOU I TRUST. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I LIFT UP MY SOUL.”  David feared “going down to the pit”, which was not hell, but based on the Hebrew word “bowr” means a dungeon, a prison, a well or an empty cistern.  David was describing a deep, dark place.  He feared depression and anxiety.  What did he request as the antidote?  He asked to hear God’s steadfast love, and to God, and God alone, he lifted up his very soul. 

We all get to pick and choose what rules our lives, to what or whom we “lift up our soul”.  Truly it is a choice.  But it’s a choice that we must consciously make - or life will make it for us.  We can choose to let God control our lives and turn over our cares to Him, or we can walk through life trying to do it ourselves and let the pit become our home. 
Friends, take time to slow down, relax and enjoy the life that goes on around you.  Come out of the comatose state of work and worries, and look up in prayer.  Get outside! Look at the great works He does every day.  Let Him lift your head.  Let Him show you the peace of life that comes from trusting Him with all your worries, and leaning into His great love.

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