The year Beth was sick we were given a gift of a hot air balloon ride over the city of Melbourne to watch the sunrise. It was indeed a spectacular sight and we were privileged to behold a different perspective on our city than the one we usually see from the ground. For a moment we caught a glimpse of our world from the ‘top down’, instead of from the ‘bottom up’ – and what a sight it was! God showed us several things that day (besides confirming to David the fact that I am definitely not a morning person). Firstly, just the view from an aircraft, everything that is seen as ‘big’ in our world became very small. The difference with the hot air balloon was that we were only 200 meters above all the buildings, so we could actually see more detail on the ground. We could see who kept a tidy garden and who didn’t care about their patch. We could see how many cars surrounded each home and get an idea of the condition they were in. We could see those who maintained their little corner of earth and those who let it go to ruin. We could also see that everyone was fenced off in their own tiny yards and the realization hit that in the end, those details of tidiness and wealth did not matter in the slightest!
What surprised me most on that day was how large the city cemetery is! I have only ever driven past it and caught the edge. It is in fact a huge place – much bigger than the little housing lots right near by. From our perspective up there we could see the early morning joggers and personal trainers doing their workouts all around the road that fenced off the cemetery. We could see the traffic begin to swell as people began a new day at work. From our perspective, it was obvious that all the activity around the cemetery was going on with little or no thought about what was right beside them!
While it was sobering to consider these matters, it was also restful way up there way beyond the concerns of the little details of life. For a moment our eyes beheld more magnificent things and even our deepest concerns for Beth’s deteriorating health paled in comparison to the beauty of this new perspective. Yes, some rich lessons were gained from that balloon flight – thank you anonymous giver!
Now flash back with me to the time I first sat at Beth’s graveside six months after her passing. That day, another reality hit as I sat beside Beth’s grave… “This grave will also be my grave one day if God allows history to keep flowing as we know it. My wonderful husband will also be buried here. Yikes!” Yet with these thoughts came assurance and peace and not fear and terror as you may expect. Our wonderful Beth has paved the way for us. I do not have to fear – I can BE At Rest. I can receive the peace that Jesus (the Glorious One who has overcome the grave) offers!
How about we take another look at our passages this week? (Hebrews 3 & 4/ Psalm 95) The biblical concept of ‘being at rest’ and ‘entering into your rest’ is at the heart of God’s desire for us all. But to get there takes faith. It takes courageous action my friend and all of this from the depths of a softened, receptive heart. God’s constant invitation is there for us to come to Him in faith and enter into a state of true rest in Him. Yes, an appointment with a grave is inevitable – it will certainly come one day for you and for your loved ones. Perhaps an appointment is imminently upon you and uncertainty and pain surround you. Please let me comfort you that while this appointment is worth serious deliberation, in Jesus Christ it is not worth a single ounce of dread!
Whether your current trial seems big or small, trivial or life threatening, remember God’s eternal, overarching perspective and the everlasting peace of Jesus Christ that is on offer. Dear ones – please receive and BE At Rest!
Songs to encourage you:
I Will Rest In You by Jaci Velasquez
Jesus I Am Resting Hymn by Jean Pigot (performed by Tricia Brock)
I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin
A reading to help rest your heart…
“RECEIVE MY PEACE. It is My continual gift to you. The best way to receive this gift is to sit quietly in My Presence, trusting Me in every area of your life. Quietness and trust accomplish far more that you can imagine: not only in you, but on earth and in heaven. When you trust Me in a given area, you release that problem or person into My care.”
Jesus Calling (page 267) by Sarah Young