Rest is faith
There’s a drought here in northern Alberta.
Our garden is like a piece of cardboard. All 1,000 feet of it, just dry and flat and aching for water. The plants straining, their necks reaching and the sky a wide stretch of barren blue.
Every two days Trent hauls water from his parents’ dugout and we bend over every seed, every leaf, every skinny stem and we gently water it, coax it to keep on living until the sky decides to open.
Some afternoons, thunder, and a few shy drops fall, but for the past month it’s been mostly a brazen sun, and we’re weary. We’re weary and worried, and yet, the thunder. Trent keeps singing, “I can hear the thunder in the distance, a train on the edge of the town,” and it’s a song about revival. It’s a song about the Spirit pouring down and I think of Joel 2, of the promise of the Spirit on our sons and daughters. I think of the drought in churches across North America, I think about the 750 million people who are thirsting around the world, who are dying of thirst because they don’t have clean water to drink, and I fall on my knees.
Beg God to heal our land, beg God to heal the cracks in my soul, beg God to fulfill the words of Joel.
And then we wait.
Because this is faith.
Rest is faith.
Faith does not always mean stepping out. Sometimes it means quietly sitting and waiting. The waiting is often harder than the stepping out. Because, you see, we cannot control the weather.
We are not responsible for the rain. God is. God is the only one who can open up the storehouses of heaven and relieve the earth. No matter how many advances science makes, it cannot control the weather. The Lord holds that, and he uses it to teach us. To teach us to repent, to pray and then, to wait.
A necessary thirst
We see the now, versus eternity. We see the fields dying. The insects, eating what little is left of the crops because the crops are too weary to raise their heads, to fight. We see the dusty dirt, the coughs of dry air and the way the dugout water just puddles on top, the dirt is so dry. Because what the gardens and fields need is a downpour. They don’t just want to be fed a few drops from a watering can. They’re thirsty. They’re so thirsty they’re dying. They’re desperate for days of water.
But God sees tomorrow. He sees forever. And sometimes a little thirst, a little drought, is what the church needs to fall on its knees and repent for ever thinking it didn’t need God. For thinking that somehow, we as people could get away without a Sabbath. Without a rest.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isa. 30:15).
We need rest.
We need to invite the Sabbath into our homes, into our workplaces, into our hearts and our spirits. It’s not about Sunday, friends. It’s about Sabbath. Our land is aching for one. Our children are watching us run ourselves weary and they don’t want to grow up because of it. They’re scared of all the pills we’re popping just to stay awake. They’re scared of the fear in our voice when we yell at each other. They’re scared of the toppling divorce rate, even amongst Christians. They’re scared.
Perfect love is the antidote to fear. There is no room for scary voices when you’re resting in love.
We’re thirsty for this kind of love. For Abba to sweep us up and hold us close to his chest. For the sound of his voice in our hair telling us over and over, “You are my beloved,” and for the unhurried way of a child, leaning on her Father.
It rains so hard it bounces off the ground, it rains so hard that little boys get soaked running in their bathing suits through the yellow grass, it rains so hard because the heavens have been aching to relieve the earth, and God has been filling up the clouds with the tears of his people.
God’s spirit, it pours down when we repent and rest. When we sit quietly in our need for a Saviour.