Saturday, September 20, 2014

Return, O My Soul, to Your Rest

  "Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you." (Psalm 116:5-7 ESV)

I love Advent and Christmas, and the turning of the year, but there seems always a difficult season to be traversed ahead of the celebration, ahead of hope. Early fall and its cold winds usher in for me a sense of melancholy and loss. I know it is coming, yet each year it finds me less prepared. This year it has come early, and I’ve donned despair like a mantilla.

Despite the many blessings of the year, despite answered prayers and evidences of His grace, my heart gravitates toward regret and fear: My son on the spectrum turns 15 in a few weeks. How will I help him transition to adulthood without adequate supports? My eldest has left for college. Have I prepared him well? Will he be safe away from our protection? Pressure and anxiety secretly fill me as I discuss the new school year with fellow home educators.  Even the fruition of a long-desired missions opportunity has had me in distress.

It seems my bent to be filled with heart cares. But just as surely as sorrow threatens to consume me once again, the Lord lifts me up and out, and restores me to my right mind.

When the weary, seeking rest,
To Thy goodness flee;
When the heavy-laden cast
All their load on Thee;
When the troubled, seeking peace,
On Thy Name shall call;
When the sinner, seeking life,
At Thy feet shall fall:
Hear then in love, O Lord, the cry
In heaven, Thy dwelling-place on high.

As I step away from all that demands my attention, and read and pray through Psalms and the Gospels, hymns and devotional writings, I am reminded of a rest already secured on my behalf—the Lord has already dealt bountifully with me. Rest is the natural state of the believer. Even in the midst of pressures and very real challenges, the Lord can be a refuge to the soul. He is our source of rest. To return to rest is to resist the seduction of worry and irritability, and to consciously quiet one’s own soul with truth. It is to repent of sinful worry and self-sufficiency, and to return to worship.

Pray:  Lord, pressures can seem unrelenting as we raise children with special needs.  The temptation to despair or to be fearful is always with us. We need your wisdom, comfort, and peace. Thank you that in the midst of our cares we can rest in you. Teach us, Lord, to bless your name at all times, and in all seasons, for you save the crushed in spirit.  You are our refuge.  Amen

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