Ignorance may be blissful, but merely for the briefest moment

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Ministerial Association

This summer I went on a trip with a group of people I dearly love. The weather was perfect, the fishing was awesome - both for catching and eating, and the company of family was a muchneeded respite from my day to day conversations. There was nothing work related; my phone went dead on the long trip and I left it setting in the car all week. It was a peaceful and much needed time away.

As the week went on however and long distant relations became close encounters and days, long spent apart, became daily recognizable routine; something began to surface. You see the first few days were covered in the bliss of getting away from day to day life and getting closer to the family we don’t see often enough. The joy that had rose quickly to the top seemed to cover up the stress of regular life and was replaced with ease and tranquility.

Like cream scooped off the top of fresh milk the sweetness that was there began to have holes in it and reality began to peak through the veil that covered each of our lives for those brief couple of days. We each had our own lives and with those lives come stresses and concerns, just like the rest of the world shares in each day. For some it was their children, others it was the next major stage in life, for others it was a new city with a new job, and for others it was a continuation of settling into the last stages of life. Nonetheless we all gathered to forget those stresses, if only for a little while, and not to worry about them for at least a short period of time.

That world doesn’t always work in our favor that way, however. Those first sunfilled, less stress, love filled days didn’t last long. Why, how could each of our hectic lives follow us all that way. How could it penetrate the quit, calm, middle of nowhere reality we were all relishing in. Then about half-way through the week it hit me. Like a right-handed upper cut while your playing Candyland, it hit me.

While we were finishing a meal of freshly caught fish, the fish stories of new and old were getting bigger, and laughter abounded. I was asked a simple faithbased question that seemed to fit into the conversation, just like that the cream was gone, the veil torn away, and reality began to surface. What seemed to be an innocent question cut into the peace being shared.

My answer began with the words, “Well God’s law…” and like dandelion fluff blown in the wind the group scattered. The couple asking the question remained and a long discussion ensued. Although the conversation was a good one to be having, it isn’t what I remember most from that moment on. All those stresses that everybody had been avoiding started to show on their faces again. A time that was meant to be spent getting away was just a cover for most in attendance. Our stress wasn’t gone it was just hidden away.

Now home and months later, I find myself asking a question of Oswald Chambers, “Where is the majestic vitality and the power of the Son of God?” He asks the question in relation to Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Chambers, like I in the middle of that week retreat, wonders where God is in our lives.

Jesus invites us to come to Him. He offers relief from the labor and stresses of life. We don’t have to do anything else but come to Him. God’s intent is to take away the stress, but we seem to hold onto it and not on to Him. He offers rest, not in the sense of sleep and relaxation necessarily, but rest from the weight we put on ourselves from this world.

My question after that week is this, why do we run from God? Why for some, does the mere mention of His name send them away from Him, when His desire is for us to come to Him. We spend more time, worry and effort keeping God away. Then we spend even more effort trying to fix our problems we have allowed to laden us down. I encourage you each to stop turning away from what God has in store for you and instead listen to His call and go to Him. Take on His yoke and find rest for your souls from the stress of this world.

The holidays are upon us and the stress comes with it. Remember we are thankful because God loves us. We celebrate Christmas because God loves us. Don’t run from His love, embrace it.