During these last six months of illness, I’ve found the need to rest is much greater. Partially because I don’t sleep well at night, but also due to the fact that my body isn’t well. Fatigue is ongoing.
But recently, I’ve heard God speaking the word REST to me at every turn. In his word, in his whispers to me, and in songs, he keeps impressing this idea of rest on me. I finally realized that it had much more to do with my spirit than my physical body.
There are so many places in the Bible that indicate rest.
The Lord leads us beside still waters and makes us lie down in green pastures. (Psalm 23)
In Genesis, God rested from creating the world. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t tired, but spoke from a place of completion.
The Bible refers to God’s people entering his rest. (Exodus and Hebrews)
David, the Psalmist, talks about sleeping in peace. (Psalm 4:8)
Jesus tells anyone who is weary and burdened to come to him and swap places. (Matthew 30)
Resting is actually about:
being in God’s presence
letting him hold us and everything in our lives
waiting on him
trusting that he’s “got this”
not stressing about the outcome of situations
believing that the God of the universe is holding onto me in love and he will not let go of me
It’s about being able to be still because we know that HE is God. (Psalm 46:10)
No matter what things look like. Despite the possible “what if’s.” In spite of the illness, or bank account, or silence from a loved one.
As I pondered this, I believe God gave me this acronym to encompass what he was trying to get me to embrace.
R – Refreshed. When I rest in Him, I will feel refreshed rather than weary.
E – Established. He is the one who establishes me and everything in my life.
S – Stay. If I want to find rest, I need to stay in his presence.
T – Trust. It all comes down to trusting him. When I know how much he loves me, I can trust that he has my back.
So if you find you are in need of REST, remember that while a nap might help our physical body, true rest comes from a spirit trusting in and leaning on God.
While this unexplained illness or condition has taken over my body for the past five months, I’ve experienced a myriad of emotions. In the beginning, the majority of my time I lived in a sense of peace. The condition was inconvenient, a little scary and sometimes painful. With no explanations, negative blood tests, and absolute trust in my Savior who heals, I settled into the journey, believing that any morning I would wake up and be fine again.
Clearly, that hasn’t been the case.
My complete trust in Jesus and his healing hasn’t wavered. I’m not scared. I wait each day for his healing to manifest. He’s promised me, my husband, my family, and friends that I will see his healing come. The only unknown is when.
In the meantime, I’ve become nearly immobile. The pain is often so excruciating that it wrenches cries out of me—sometimes when I least expect it. My body is swollen all over making it difficult to move or sleep. I confess that most days I dread getting into bed as well as hating to get out of it.
I eat clean and healthy. I take supplements, herbs, oils, teas and have fasted a number of foods at different times to check for any allergies. A couple of homeopathic medicines give a little relief from pain that typical medications don’t touch.
It seems God has made it clear that this “thing” will not be healed by anything or anyone except him.
I believe he has a purpose in all of this. He’s working in me and my husband. I pray that I will be glorifying to my Lord God. When pain is at it’s worst, I pray for others who suffer far worse than I do for years or at the hands of those torturing them because of their love for Jesus.
Some days, I confess, I feel discouraged.
But the one thing that has sustained me and continues to be the only place of complete relief is being in the presence of Jesus.
I can imagine how people flocked to him when he walked the earth. Many came to him for healing. They obviously wanted freedom from their torturous life. But what some of them realized and experienced was the incredible joy and peace that came from being in his presence.
Even the bleeding woman just wanted to get close enough to touch his robe.
Being in the presence of God.
Getting lost completely in his love. That is where I find peace. Where the discouragement of my condition dissolves and time stops (time is irrelevant to God). Peace, that kind that we don’t understand, washes over me, rests on me, and thoroughly surrounds me.
That is also where healing starts.
Healing for our hearts, our bodies, our relationships, and our life starts in the presence of our loving God. Totally submerged in his love, we also find identity, purpose, direction, and release.
I don’t know how long I will be in this place.
I might wake up tomorrow and be able to move and live again without pain and fatigue. I also might find that the perfect timing of God hasn’t come yet. Maybe it won’t for weeks, months, or years. Healing may not come until I’m in heaven at my Savior’s side.
But I do know that each day, I’m finding peace, strength, growth of faith, and joy in the presence of Jesus here and now.
“Your power is found in the roughest waters, where I have no choice but to trust you, Father, where my every fear has to surrender….”
This season of illness is rough waters. There are no answers—doctors are stumped, typical diagnoses don’t fit, neither diet nor medication is resolving it. I have no choice but to trust my heavenly Father and surrender any fear or discouragement to him.
It is only when I’m lost in his love, sitting in his presence singing, listening, reading his word, that I’m in another place beyond today’s challenges.
No matter what we experience, whether physical, emotional, circumstantial, or relational, the presence of Jesus with his love washing over us is where we are transcended into another realm. It is where healing starts and will be completed. It’s where peace reigns. Peace we can’t explain. Peace that is beyond happiness due to circumstantial changes. Where fear must leave – in his perfect love that casts it away.