It was a late meal and before too long, my niece was soon battling sleep. Eventually, it overtook her and she laid with her head on the restaurant table while everyone else chatted and finished their meal. Then, my brother picked her up and carried her to the vehicle to go home. I don’t know if she slept through the entire trip home or if she simply acted like it, exhaustion keeping her calm and still.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t until the next day that I found myself pondering that scene. The similarities made me think of how my parents would often carry me from the car into the house after a drive home from somewhere. At times, I was really in a deep sleep and other times I just wanted to act like it. I would be partially awake as I heard the vehicle turn off, but I wanted to be effortlessly transported into the house. Once I reached a certain age, my parents would wake me up and I would need to enter the house on my own two feet.
What was so nice about being carried? Perhaps it was the sense of being cradled tenderly or the chance to be lovingly provided for even as reaching ages of independence. I’m sure sometimes it was just laziness, but it was probably most often the joy of resting in the strength of another. At six or seven, I wouldn’t have phrased it that way, of course. Yet if I look at the desires of the human heart, I am certain that was a central focus.
As an adult, we have to re-learn the art of resting in the strength of another. We often don’t want to be carried, physically or emotionally. The ease that comes with being carried in childhood often vanishes as we become adults. The sense of being carried starts to feel awkward and uncomfortable, like how it would feel if someone picked us up and carried us over their shoulder like happened when we were kids. We need to find anew the gift of resting in the Lord’s strength.
In many ways, it easier to look for humans to fill this need of a strength to rest in. When lonely, we seek out friends. For stability and commitment, we desire a spouse. When we reach the end of what we know or are able to do, we want a tangible, physical presence to step in and help us out. A few weeks ago, I was traveling in a blizzard, praying the entire way that I wouldn’t slide off the road and into a ditch. Yet every time there was a pick-up that would come up behind me and stay there for a while, I was incredibly grateful. I couldn’t help but think that if my car careened into a ditch, that this pick-up driver just might lend their strength to assist in my weakness. As I said, I prayed fervently the whole way, but the physical presence of another person with me in the blizzard provided some comfort to my fear.
What does it take to allow my weakness to find rest in God’s strength, instead of continually seeking another place to find rest? My heart longs so much to find rest and yet I often run from the true Source for my rest. The only place I can find true and total rest is in the Lord. He alone has strength to completely carry my weakness without fail. Everyone else and everything else will fall short or will fail to satisfy. People will die and I will lose their physical presence. Possessions will break or run out. All will eventually pass except for the Lord. If I want true rest, I need to go to Him. There is no other solution, no other path, no other practice that will provide the rest that He can give. I cannot meditate, medicate, or plan my way out of needing His omnipotence as the resting place for my littleness and my weakness.
This week, how will you rest in the Lord? What area or areas of your life do you need to entrust to the Lord? Where is your weakness an avenue for His strength to be made manifest?