photos and post by June Friesen,
Nature holds so many gifts not only in living things but also in objects. At times when I am hiking and I take the time to stop and pause I find God inviting me to embrace Him in so many different and varied ways. In this photo, I find an invitation from Jesus to come and sit with Him… maybe to sit at His feet as Mary did… maybe to just crawl up as a child would do and be embraced, listening to the beat of His heart… listening to the beat of His heart filled with love and care for me. I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 11… notice it says that Jesus talked to the people tenderly….
27 Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Wow! There are so many times when I just want to sit with Jesus and rest in His reassurance given here in these verses. Listen to His understanding of our situation: Are you tired? Are you worn out? Are you burned out on religion? Do you feel a heavy load placed on you? Do you feel restrictions that are uncomfortable, undefinable? Wow. Yes wow. And how often do I/we feel that God does not understand this world today? Our particular situation today? Yet, as I read these words, I find understanding and comfort from God because He has something better for me, He says. He describes it this way: ‘If you come with Me, He says, I will help you recover what your life is to be; I will allow you and show you how to rest in Me; I will allow your life to respond with rhythm to the situations you are in and face…’ He says that my spirit will be so much lighter – it will experience a freedom.
I invite you to take some time to allow Jesus to embrace you. Find a place in nature, in your yard, in your home. Maybe you need a blanket, a sheet, a worship covering, a coat to wrap around you. Now rest, if you can, lean your head on something as if you are leaning on His breast. Hear the beating of His Heart; His heart that beats with not only love but life for you; His heart that beats with eternal life for you. Feel Him breathing… in the rise and fall of his chest with each breath He breathes life into the air you are breathing… Wrap your arms around yourself, holding yourself, giving yourself a hug or two or more… allow yourself to feel Jesus hugging you, filling your being with His tenderness. Now take a deep breath and let it fill you to the depth of your being with life… release the breath slowly beginning from the belly, letting it take with it all the impurities you want to shed… now take another breath – deeply – and embrace Jesus breathing the Spirit freshly into all the space you just emptied… as you breath out be thankful for the cleansing not only spiritually but physically each breath can give.
In our world here today, time seems so hurried. One cannot wait until the afternoon, or the evening or the next day, the next week, the next month or year. For many of us we cannot/could not wait until the end of Covid. But as I was pondering these thoughts this morning and allowing myself to be refreshed by Jesus my spirit was stirred – and I found myself asking – could it be that the bondage that we feel Covid has forced upon us is somewhat like the bondage of sin upon our spirit? Could it be that this is how God speaking to us because we have not taken the time to sit with Him? Yes, we miss gathering in community but could it be that we have made gathering in community more important that personal time with Him?
What might Jesus/God/Spirit say to you as you take the time to sit with him personally? Where might you find a space this season, a favorite place of refreshment perhaps for a summer vacation, where you may also find that your spirit can find refreshment and new life? For some it might be the beach at an ocean or lake. For others it may be in a garden of vegetables and/or flowers where new things can be spotted almost if not every day. For others it may be some fresh decoration in your home. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or take up a lot of space – just a special place that when you walk by it invites you to pause a moment and breathe.
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