In the dark ages of track and field, when event distances were measured in impractical and antiquated units call yards, I ran the 100-yard dash as a freshman member of the Concordia (nee River Forest) track team, coached by Harold Brockberg. At one particular meet all the slots for my “specialty” were filled, so Coach asked me to run the 220. Not used to pacing myself for that distance, oxygen debt hit me 30 or so yards from the finish line. Breathing heavily as I struggled to replenish my oxygen supply, my physical weakness was strengthened by Coach Brockberg’s soft-spoken, placidly resolute confidence.
Relying solely on my running capabilities would have left me well short of the finish line. In the transitional, desert period following our downsizing or career loss, we may exert extreme physical and mental effort to ameliorate the fear, anxiety, and unforgiveness that conflict us, separating us from Jesus’ healing and unfathomable love. Our own efforts bring only futility, perpetuating our distress. We must first, as the psalmist tells us, “Be still and know that I am God .”- Psalm 46: 10
Jesus truly can complete His work in us when we come to the end of ourselves and rest in Him. Timothy Keller (Every Good Endeavor) states that in Jesus we find “the rest under the rest.” Resting in Jesus is an act of trust in which we acknowledge that it is He who keeps the world running and provides for our families. We begin to thirst for God rather than primarily focusing on a solution to our problems. As Christ Tomlin sings in “I Lift My Hands”:
“Be still, there is a river
That flows from Calvary’s tree.
A fountain for the thirsty,
Pure grace that washes over me.
Let faith arise.”