Caution! Heavy Load.

I wanted to get to my friend’s house for a brief walk. She had been out of the country for awhile and we wanted to catch up but we only had an hour window of time. I got in my car. Yay! I should make it. On a whim, I decided to take the interstate instead of the usual route. It should be faster and we only have an hour together so take it!  I turned quickly.

I merged onto the interstate and when the exit I needed approached, I took it. I saw a long line of cars and a sign in the distance- LANE CLOSED. Traffic screeched to a halt. Oh no! You’ve got to be kidding me. I texted and sent my friend a photo: I’m on my way! But I got stuck behind THIS thing.

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STUCK…I began to look around. What was going on was more involved and complicated than what I originally perceived. The lane was closed and there was a ton of work being done: Multiple men working, trucks dumping concrete and one guy moving through slow traffic. He repositioned all the striped orange and white cylinders that marked off a large section of the road to make room for what was about to approach.

I had previously been oblivious, but I noticed another white utility vehicle was parked in the middle lane. This caused another delay from the other road.  A guy was up in a cherry picker working on the traffic lights. That’s an interesting light bulb change.  He was far above  the traffic that moved-turtle paced below him. He had the best view of the whole picture. A truck was in front of me, but ahead of him was an oversized load. Yes, it was rather oversized. It was a house.

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I wondered, How in the world is this wide house going to get through the narrow road that is even temporarily narrower now because one lane is out.  Much later, I saw a lead escort vehicle ahead of the house. It announced  with lights that flashed and another sign attached to it that read “OVER SIZED LOAD.”

I was so thankful that I didn’t lose my cool or get frustrated. I’ve been learning a lot about patience lately. Some things take longer when there are many pieces to move. Extra time required I guess. I sat in traffic, slowly proceeding behind this house parade and I got to thinking about the loads that we carry.

Sometimes things that we encounter in life are real heavy whoppers! The type that would require a sign OVER SIZED LOAD to accompany us on the journey. I thought about how there was a lead car in front of the truck pulling the house and there was another car behind the moving house-a buffer between the rest of the cars.

I thought about how God is behind and before. I thought about how he always leads us in triumphal entry. He goes before us and is our rearguard.

It was so large. It’s not every day that I see a big house traveling down the road on a semi truck. But it is a common occurrence to see people caring a heavy load. Jesus said in the book of Matthew 11:30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

While stuck in traffic God told me, Rachel remember I go before you. I don’t want you to carry heavy loads-burdens. His yolk is easy and His burden is light. He also wants me to be seated with Him in the heavenly places far above. Anytime time I feel stuck and don’t think there’s much movement in my circumstances. I need to trust that like the guy up high in the cherry picker truck, with the best view of the traffic situation, God’s ways are higher and He sees it all and is in charge of it.

I made it to my friend’s house. We had time to pray to the God who hears about many things and for the OVERSIZED LOADS that people carry. We gave the load over to Him.

On my way home the road was clear and my burden was light.

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Lie Down and Sleep!

Have you ever watched a toddler who’s about to fall asleep even though he’s resistant? It goes something like this: The child reluctantly sits on his daddy’s lap squirming. He is bounced gently on his dad’s knee but he wrestles and pushes his body away as the dad continues to hold him. He squirms and bucks the whole time. He even tries to climb down a few times to play but he becomes fussier. It is so obvious, to the observer, that he’s so tired and needs to sleep. As the child prevents the rest that is so desperately needed, I watch and think, Come on now little guy, just go to sleep! 

He keeps his eyes open blinking yet the rate slows. Finally this little one complies and becomes still. Eventually, his eyelids become heavy, as if the Sandman massaged tiny grains of sand between his index finger and thumb and sprinkled them precisely over each of the child’s tear ducts, eyelids and lashes until he succumbed to the weight of his heavy eyelids and eventually closed them.

His tiny body yields and becomes limp and heavy with sleep.  His arms dangle freely but his neck bends at an awkward angle.  As his rate of breathing slows and becomes rhythmic, his small chest rises and falls while his father gently straightens his little neck and head. He perspires causing his hair to clump in damp chunky strands. His father looks down and strokes his sweaty hair back off his forehead and lightly kisses it.  Again I think, yeah, there you go little guy!  That’s what you needed. Just rest. Why were you so resistant? As is typical, after his rest he’s completely recharged, raring and ready to go again.

I think I’m like that sometimes.  Are you?  As God calls me to rest in Him, He says, “Cease striving. Come to me and rest.” Yes, I can be resistant to the very thing I need. But I am learning!

My learning has included quiet times of solitude or early mornings spent with God as He speaks.  I write down what I hear him say to me. This particular entry in my “listening journal” reminds me of that resistant child who was fighting the very thing he needed, sleep and rest:

The Lord says, “My love… I am right here as close as the air you breathe. I am here drawing near. I am strong, you don’t have to be. I’d like to show you my strength through your weakness. Come to me sweet one. Come here dear child. Breathe. Let me calm you with my love. My unfailing love. My loyal, steadfast, faithful love, be BLESSED!

I am in control– you needn’t worry. I can do more in one move of my almighty hand than all your planning or dreaming ever could. Don’t resist me–or my love for you–lean into me. Come close, so I can kiss your head. I adore you! I delight in you. I care for you, I am here! You needn’t fear. Cease striving–breathe. Breathe deeply. Again, breathe! Rest.

Do we need to:

Cease striving?

Sleep?

Rest?

It is so wonderful that the God of the universe invites us to cease striving, sleep and rest:

Psalm 46:10,11 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Psalm 4:8 In peace (not in pieces) I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone,O LORD, make me dwell in safety.  

Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. NIV

Just like the resistant toddler after we rest in Him we will be raring and ready to go!

*  I added the bold type and parenthetical