Originally published Saturday, 10 September 2022.
Stress and Anxiety. The world is filled with them both, and they torment me. Stomach pain, tension headaches, and sleepless nights have all followed in their wake. They have weakened my immune system, making me more susceptible to colds and viruses, pneumonia, and even shingles. I never invited them in, and I detest that they linger. They take residence and hide in the places I feel empty, depleting me all the more.
But I am my own worst enemy, being the sinner that I am. They exist because of the war going on inside me. They are outworkings of the side that believes “I am strong” and “I am enough”. The culture that surrounds me bolsters this notion. My people-pleasing ways only perpetuate irrational thinking. And all of this mess, this chaos, it reeks of sin. Annihilation is its fate.
As I am being sanctified, greater victories are being claimed by the side that believes “I am weak and He is strong” and “He is enough”. Rest is the outworking of the holy overcoming. In this rest, all striving ceases. I hold to Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God”. A practice in which I experience the fullness of Christ. Peace and contentment envelop me, as He prevails over the war within.
As followers of Christ, rest is ours. For we are slaves no more and now walk in the freedom of Christ. No longer are we running the rat race encumbered by proving something of ourselves. Our tight grip on things of this world is released in the surrendering of our lives to a Sovereign God. We can let out a sigh of relief as all order is restored with God seated on the throne.
Regrettably, this isn’t the state we remain in constantly. Without warning, we find ourselves trapped, falling back to the lure of old, less godly, ways. We are no different than the Israelites—tempted to distrust God and think we know best. We take the steps that lead to our own desert-like wanderings.
In these times, we need to remember the manna, the pillar of cloud, the pillar of fire, the provisions of water, and the undeserved grace that sustained the Israelites. They speak to the goodness and faithfulness of our God. If He has done it once, He can do it again. He is true and everlasting and as we feast daily on the Word of God, meditating on who God is, our ability to trust in Him strengthens. Our assurance increases as we surround ourselves with a community of believers and witness God move in the lives of others and have them speak truth into our own lives. Finally, when we release our need for control and seek God in prayer for all the worries that try to plague our faith, we see that though the battle rages we will come out victorious.
Kate Franken is a 4th grade teacher and a volunteer coordinator at her church in Oregon. She enjoys indulging in raw conversation whilst savoring a cup or more of coffee. Her hunt for good books and podcasts is endless. She finds refuge surrounded by trees, on hiking trails, with her two dogs in tow. She is especially fond of mountaintop views, wit, “best teacher ever” love letters, breakfast, a painted sky, and Jesus. She has a heart for connecting people to His church and encouraging others into relationship with Him.