The pendulum has swung wide for me recently on life events, and there have been moments in the stormy times, I’ve lost sight of the other side. Because stresses and griefs tug at the heart even through the elation of miracles, I’ve had a time of it. Yet the recent warmth of personal kindnesses and encounters threatens to thaw the icy numbness that settles and resettles in my arms.
I will highlight a few, but not all, of the weekend warmths God sent my way. On Saturday, a friend and marathon runner committed one of her many miles she runs to praying for our family. She says she likes to pick a friend and devote a mile to them in prayer. I’m humbled, honored. and grateful.
Sunday I received a “random” message from an out of state friend who I have not been in touch with for months. Among many other encouraging words, she said, ‘I am praying that the Lord carry you through the storms and calm the waves. May you always remember that the Lord is in the boat with you and that because He is, you will make it to the other side. When the Lord went into the boat with the disciples, he said to them “let us go to the other side“. There was no doubt that they would make it to the other side.even in the storm…even though they were afraid when the storm came…because Jesus was with them and He knew they would make it, it was not yet His time. It is hard to Trust in the storms that shake us, but Jesus says “Do not be afraid, Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the earth….” ‘
Again on Sunday (after church and a deeply satisfying nap) I did some catching up in the “Breathe” Bible study (by Priscilla Shirer) that I am in, on making room for the Sabbath, boundaries, etc. After discussing boundaries and margin, Shirer quotes Brad Lomenick, respected innovator and leader of the Catalyst Movement in America as saying several things about the powerful concept of ‘margin’ in several areas of life, including this quote, “Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact.”
If there’s anything new I’ve concluded about friendships over the past year or so, it’s that in my own strength, I might be able to encourage and pass along the love of Christ to someone on occasion, but any consistency is lost on me without some margin in my life for such efforts. To have margin requires that I set boundaries. To set wise boundaries necessitates time in prayer to be sensitive to what parameters I need in order to keep the proper things in their place, and to be guided to friendship as the Lord would lead.
Hebrews 4 says “for the person who has entered his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His. Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.” Entering into a “rest”, or a cessation of normal activity, and especially to focus on God, counters the physical world and is the beginning of true freedom and blessing.
Oswald Chambers says, “are these things crushing us? Are they badgering us out of the presence of God and leaving us no time for worship? Then let us call a halt, and get into such living relationship with God that our relationship to others may be maintained on the line of intercession whereby God works His marvels.”
Today, I was blessed with a friend who I haven’t seen for weeks coming by my place of work just for a quick hug. And then blessed again with a good ole chat with my mom, who I will never stop needing. I’m touched in those moments and more recently by many around me who get off the merry go round of their normal activities and in effect, say, ‘Let’s go to the other side. I’m with you. And, oh, yes, there IS another side and we’re headed there together!’ I’m so thankful to God because He sends those who would speak His Words, and actively care the way He does. That is what points to Him and reminds me what I momentarily forgot about the other side.