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Monday, July 22, 2013

From Land to Air

Many of us grew up singing the song. "I'm in the Lord's Army...I'm in the Lord's Army..."  Great song.  I still sing it with my kids sometimes in the car.  The images I get in my mind sometimes when I sing that song, though, are pictures of people who are working/striving and trudging through the mud like dirty and exhausted soldiers.

I chuckled out loud as I typed that because I realize that many of us in the Church feel exactly like that-- a dirty and exhausted soldier.  We've been to war and back.  We've been holding our ground.  We've been fighting the good fight.  We haven't given up, but many of us are just plain tired.  We are soooo tired.  We want to keep pushing through, but our boots are getting heavier and heavier as they are being pulled down deeper into the mud. 

So, is this what a faithful follower is supposed to look like?  Is the sign of a good disciple one who is about to fall face first into the mud he's been trudging?

I'm going to say a resounding, "NO!"  And I'm sure if you can relate, you might be saying the same thing.

I'm not saying that a good disciple isn't going to experience friction, resistance, trials and tribulations in this world.  I'm not saying it isn't noble to persevere.  I'm saying maybe we've been taking things on in our own strength and have been carrying burdens we were never asked to carry.  Maybe we have felt like these battles have been ours to fight.

God is whispering a word to us today:  "Rest."

What is there left to do if we really did what God told us to do:  Lay down your burdens.  Cast your cares.  Come to me all who are weary and burdened. ?  The only thing left to do is rest.  Let your heart rest.  Let God pick up the heavy weights.  He's happy to do so.  In fact, He is more pleased when we lay them down than when we try to show Him how strong we are by continuing to trudge through. 

It's a mystery but it's beautiful.  See, it takes more belief to rest than it does to continue striving.  When we rest in God we are leaning not on ourselves and our own strength but we are putting our full weight onto Him -- like a baby in his parent's arms.  And when we rest and trust, we experience more of God and His Presence.  And when we experience more of God and His Presence, the more He is able to lead us, strengthen us, work His will through us and breathe His Life through us to others.  The more we rest like a child the more effective we are for Him!

I remember one time when I was at the end of my rope, I cried out to God from the mud.  I said, "God, how am I supposed to go forward?  I feel like I can't even move another step."

And, as clear as anything, He said to me, "It's time to fly."  It was time to take off my heavy boots and open my wings and let God carry me up and over the burdens and trials and begin to learn how to soar with Him, learn how to trust and rest in His strength and salvation -- not my own.

When I look up the word 'trudge' in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, it says "to move heavily or clumsily".  Funny enough, near antonyms for it are:

Coast
Glide
&
FLY!

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