Thursday, May 21, 2009
The past few weeks have proven to be emotionally and physically exhausting for me. You've had those weeks right? Where it seems every time you turn around there is more need, more sadness, more problems.
Last night I led a bible study on Jonah and his attempt to flee from God's call. I felt great sympathy for Jonah, for if the call to rescue Ninevah was going to be as burdensome as the call to serve a church, then I'm not sure I blame him for running. (ok, I exaggerate in my weariness)
Today, I woke up and drudged back into work. I found myself trying to prepare a worship service when my mind was anywhere but in worship. I was weary and quite frankly a little put out with God for making this call so burdensome. Finally, I decided I was getting nowhere in my work so I headed out to my favorite park to take a prayer walk and have a little "discussion" with God on the weight of the call.
As I trudged through the parking lot and down the road, I began to unload on God for the emotional toil that this calling was taking on me. I lamented that perhaps I had missed something vitally important, maybe I was not cut out for this after all. But then the road finally gave way to trail and I entered the refreshing shade of a lush forest. There, surrounded by vibrant green trees and scurrying squirrels, I began to call out to God...how can you be the giver of such life and abundance in nature and not in me? A gentle breeze tickled the trees and answered, "I am the giver of life and abundance, but the world is the thief of energy and motivation."
Of course! How could I have not seen it more clearly? The burden and weariness I am feeling does not come from God's calling upon my life but it comes from the demands of a broken world. God is refreshing and joyful, life giving and renewing. It is life that is draining and demanding, burdensome and exhausting.
I walked on and came to the horse pastures; there are yellow flowers everywhere, the horses ignore me for the sweet grass they have found. God is renewing my soul as we walk together. For the next hour I walked, past meadows, ponds, and pre-schoolers playing on the play ground. By now I am past my lament. God has renewed my strength. The sermon I had been struggling with has suddenly burst to life. The weariness is replaced with excitement to get back and write it all down. My circle is almost complete as I approached the horse pasture. This time, to my surprise the horses look up from their sweet grass and coming running to the fence, looking at me expectantly. It seems all of God's creatures need a loving touch sometimes. I stop and visit each one, whispering gently in their ears and giving them a good rub on the nose. I wonder who needed that more, me or them?
I return to my car and know that I am ready to work now for I have been caressed by nature, renewed by God. This world has great power to steal away our energy and desire to do God's work, but this world is not the greatest power. The greatest power is found in the love of God, surely that is where I want to dwell all the days of my life.