Rest in the shade of this tree

How many ways can one be told to rest in a week? I can tell you.

  • During a restorative session with a yoga instructor: “Your feet are puffy. You need to put your feet up as often as you can—sneak five minutes, no matter where you are.”
  • During a prayer session: “I think the majority of your healing will take place when your ‘feet are up’ and you can chat happily with the Lord” (paraphrase).
  • During work: “When are you going on holiday? You need it–you’ve been going mach 90 forever!”
  • During a counselling session: “Breathe deep. Take daily walks. Drink lots of water and try to be in bed before 10:30 … I’d like you to write about the tree … “
  • At home: “Mom, when are we going to soak our feet?
  • And finally, most importantly, through God’s amazing word.

Let’s take a step backwards in time for a minute.

Last month, I had a meeting with a counsellor. This particular person is helping me find and walk the line between work and life. I have been mistakenly working myself into the ground over the past four years. And I am tired. And my body hurts. And I feel quite crappy (although this is now improving). And I need “tools” to help me get out of this cycle. So, a-counselling I have gone.

She invited me to do an exercise to find out where the stress was sitting in my body. The end result was that I am supposed to make a piece of artwork that resembles an apple. Then I am supposed to write a story about the apple tree that grows as a result of me “throwing the eaten apple (stress) on the cool green grass” and letting its seeds grow.

I admit, this is a tiny bit crazy and out of my comfort zone. But, whatever. I’m doing it and the process has indeed been therapeutic.

However, I believe that unless it is all backed up and reinforced by my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, it is pretty much meaningless. So, I’ve been praying and asking if there is anything else I should know about this somewhat irrational tree metaphor. Yesterday, I was led to read Genesis 18:4 “Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet.”

“Ok,” I thought. “That’s good.”

What was great, on the other hand, was today. I went to a bridal shower in Fruitvale, B.C., and sat outside with many other women. The sky was clear, the sun was out and it was hot! I looked behind me and standing there was a beautiful, old apple tree. Its branches were laden with fruit and I felt as though I was under a heavenly canopy as I moved into its shade. I put my feet up. “Hey Carrie,” someone said. “Do you want some water?”

“Yes please.” God is so perfect.

In the prelude to this scripture, the Lord appears to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. In other words, while Abraham was resting.

When Abraham looks up, he sees three men coming—heavenly beings in human bodies. Some commentators think they were angels, others say that one of them was the Son of God. Regardless, Abraham bows to the ground and asks them to “not pass by on your servant” and invites them to rest, among other things.

The visitors have a very important message for Sarah and Abraham re. childbirth, becoming a mighty nation and Sodom and Gomorrah. These messages may not have been heard if Abraham had been “too busy” and ignored his visitors. Think about the impact of missing that opportunity!

Rest is a novel concept for me. And I know I am not alone! I am just now learning of its importance–not only on a physical level, but also a spiritual one. As I rest more and more in Jesus, I find myself becoming more productive and far from bored (which is a concern I had). The more I rest, the more I trust and act in faith. And, the more He ministers to me!

When we finally relax and lay down in green pastures, He has an opportunity to restore our souls and take care of us, both watchfully and affectionately, lead us down paths of righteousness, comfort us, anoint us and overflow our spiritual cups (Psalm 23).

Rest in Him. He is waiting.

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