I was out for an early morning run today, and I do mean early. The moon was shining brightly in the western sky as I began. The humidity was thick with barely a breeze. All I could hear was the voice coaching me in my ear from my favorite training app. I could feel and hear the deeper breaths and my heartbeat as the heat was taking its toll a little more quickly this morning. Sometimes it’s a little more difficult than other times. This morning was it. I felt like I was about to hit the wall about two-thirds of the way into my run. By the way, when I say run, it is more like a jog, but I have been very consistent over the last month working out, cross training, at least four times a week. It’s movement, and it helps!
Then I felt it. As I was running around Bella Vista Lake, I briefly felt a gentle very cool breeze across my path. I have felt that breeze before. It is at a certain place on the trail where a spring-fed creek goes underneath the running surface. The air coming off the water was very cool. After crossing the cool air, I turned around and went back to spot where I felt it and just stood there with my arms stretched out. After a few seconds another runner ran by looking curiously at me. He turned around after hitting the cool air and came back to me—smiling. We stood there, talked for a moment, then another runner ran by drenched with sweat and did the same. She did a double-take and stopped. We all visited some in the moon lit woods, then began to run once again.
It felt like an oasis in the midst of a hot, humid desert. It was for me. It was for them. Sometimes we need that break. It doesn’t have to be a long one. It can be a brief encounter with someone or something that feeds our souls. In business we usually keep our “nose to the grindstone” thinking that will produce the profit, the business, the extra edge we need. Hard work is important. Breaking through the difficult times with will and determination is sometimes what it takes. Just don’t do that too long. It will catch up with you.
One of the greatest stories in all of scripture is the first one ever told. When you think about it, it may be one of the oldest stories ever told. It is about God who created all things. It goes through a series of six days when all we enjoy today was created by this Omnipotent Being who has always been. It’s hard to wrap our mind around it, but I believe in the One who created this beautiful world and universe and all that is in it including me and you. This doesn’t just happen. I heard someone say to not believe in God and to believe that all of this wonderful world just appeared with a “Big Boom” is like taking a pocket watch, putting it in a bag, crushing it with a hammer, and believing it will magically come together. No, I believe God created it all, but the greatest thing about this story is that God rested. That’s right, rested. The God of the universe, all-powerful, all-knowing, and in all places rested on the seventh day. When we work constantly, or think about it constantly when we are “off”, or never really spend time with the people we love even when we may be with them, we will not be rested, re-created, relaxed or refreshed. That’s why the Hebrew people took off a 24 hour period each week, for God not only commanded it, but if it was good enough for God, it was good enough for them. For the Hebrews this is the rhythm of life--work six days, rest in God, from work, on the seventh.
What do you do to “rest?” What do you do to truly get away from all-consuming work? What do you do to make yourself better as you go to work on Monday, hopefully after a weekend off? Are you truly able to be with others without all the concerns of business or work monopolizing your time, your life, your mind, your soul? These are important questions. The younger you are in your work life, the more important they are. For many years church work was all-consuming for me. I found it hard to truly be with my family when I was “off.” I now know how foolish that attitude is. I took my work too seriously and my life, cultivating the joy in my life, not seriously enough.
Stop and feel the cool breeze when you can find one. Connect with others--family, friends, co-workers—and don’t neglect the God of your understanding. By the way, after creating for the six days he said it was very good! He did his best work, the best work ever, then pronounced it very good. Then God rested. I should too.
Grace and peace!
Rex A. Dickey