I untied the knots and begin pulling the yarn which caused my project to unravel. The navy yarn piled up in my lap and looked like a messy bowl of navy yarn spaghetti. I kept undoing what I had once put together. I thought to myself, yup, this is how life feels right now. Unraveled and twisted up in a messy, you can’t make sense of it, kind of pile. This happens when our world is not matching our expectations. Unraveled and looking for rest can happen to the best of us.
The widow thought she was making her last meal before her and her son would lay down and die. If that isn’t circumstances unraveling before one’s eyes, I don’t know what is.
I don’t have all the answers, but I know I keep looking for a reprieve. I’m sure she was too. That space in time where all the loose ends in life come together, so one can finally relax and completely rest. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Will we ever fully grasp His love, His ways, and His character? Probably not in the here and now, fully, with our souls wrapped in this human clay. I am thankful for the glimpses that God does reveal to us, as his sons and daughters, along the journey.
So many of us are looking for what we call rest and yet, we envision rest to be more like an escape route in the opposite direction of our limiting circumstances, imperfect relationships, troubles, and fears.
If we are honest, the rest that comes from complete dependence on God, is usually not what we are jumping up and down to sign up for. The prophet Elijah came with a promise from God for the woman. The widow had to believe the promise, step out in faith before she saw the promise, and give the last of what she had first. This isn’t easy, y’all.
Most of us want God’s rest, but would be perfectly happy to skip life’s unwanted drama, or at least speed up the process in Jesus Name, Amen! Right? Me, too.
Maybe true rest is not vacationing (although those are needed), or a dot on our timeline as much as a peace in our hearts that comes in the midst of it all – the good and bad – the place where we learn how to walk by faith all over again.
Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 7:7 that we are to come to him and keep asking, looking, and knocking until we receive what we are asking for. We are to have faith, dream big, and be persistent. This is all good! However, it’s in the process that we can innocently begin to shift our gaze, ever so slightly, to the miracle we are praying for as THE ANSWER. Our lips convey we are trusting in God. Our thoughts often convey true rest will come when the miracle arrives.
Elisha told her, the flour and oil will not run out until the famine passes. Phew, all was good. God was providing. Then sometime later there was this unexpected occurrence: Her son gets sick and dies! What??
Often just as we begin to think we get the hang of depending on God, having faith, stepping out, and seeing God work – the next problem comes smashing right into our theology.
God, I am trusting in you so why this? Why now?
Her response, “Elisha, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to punish my sins by killing my son?” Who wouldn’t feel just like this widow? I have my days of asking God exactly what He is up to and if He actually knows what He is doing. You?
Maybe, the widow, like us had yet to learn that the miracle is never THE ANSWER, God is. We try to dig ourselves out of situations, we question God, and then we are shocked in our digging we find more dirt. Are you in the dirt right now? Are you disappointed? Frustrated? Feel Stuck?
God’s provision is never given in order to let us rest upon it. There may be rest during the miracle, but we should not find our rest in the miracle.
Elijah took the widow’s son upstairs where he stayed and the scripture says, “The Lord heard Elijah’s Prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he came back to life!” 1 Kings 17:22 But before this miracle happened the scriptures say that Elisha cried out to the Lord, asking him why he allowed this tragedy to happen. It goes on to say that he called out to the Lord three times, not once, but THREE times asking God to please let the child live. Even Elijah did not understand. Even the prophet was in an unsure place and had to keep asking, seeking, and knocking.
This was the widow’s response to Elijah once her son was brought back to life, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God and that the Lord truly speaks through you.” 1 Kings 17:24
She didn’t know for sure that her problems were over, but she knew for sure that there was a God and that he was working on her behalf, through the prophet Elijah. We may have to walk in unsure places to know some things for sure.
God wants desperately to give you and I life tools that will work; things we can know FOR SURE! Often before we can KNOW the “for sure things” we have to walk in unsure places.
Like the messy pile of yarn I created from unraveling a project, you and I will not stay in the same messy pile forever and neither did the widow. God’s purpose is to take the unraveled version of our lives, and build us back stronger with the “for sure things” He’s planting as seeds in our hearts.
So, I will take the unraveled yarn and begin making something new, just like God is renewing and restoring our hearts and the stories we’re living. He always has more for us, and that I know FOR SURE!
If you are looking for rest here is something you can count on, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
In this with you, friend.
With much love and grace,
Note: Feeling defeated and being defeated are two different things. If you need some additional encouragement check out, You Are Not Defeated.