This year has not really gotten off to the best start. It began with my wife having a miscarriage. I am not sure why, but I was more emotionally invested in this pregnancy than the previous ones. Losing this baby nearly broke me. I had to be strong for the children. I had to be strong for my wife. I had to keep plugging away doing the work of an evangelist. I never really gave myself time to heal emotionally and spiritually. As a result, I heard someone say to me the other day, “That is the first time I have seen you smile in a long time.” I had become unaware of where my heart was. Add to this, the situation with my mother-in-law, and I have had a lot on my plate. Her health is failing and it breaks my heart every time I see her. I hate that outside of prayers that there is little that I can do. I can’t count the times that I have wished that I could wave my hand and make it all go away. Here we are nearly half way through the year and I am spent.
In recent weeks I have come to learn why I am so tired. I haven’t been recreated in a long time. Sure, I have gone out running. Sure, I have played games with the kiddos. Sure I have enjoyed some good movies (and sat through some really bad ones.) But, that is not the same thing as being recreated.
I think this is where many of us find ourselves struggling. We confuse recreation (hobbies and pastimes) with recreation (being reborn). Yes our hobbies can give us that feeling of escaping from our problems. We escape from reality and think that it helps. However, we have to return to our lives eventually. And while we might feel like our batteries are quickly recharged what we find is that they are just as quickly drained. Being reborn, recreated requires a different type of escape all together.
Reading through the gospels we find Christ being a diligent worker for his Father. He talked of working while it is still day, for the night was coming when we could work no more (John 9:4). It was not uncommon for Jesus to be working long into the night (Mark 1:32-34). He provides us with a great pattern for our service unto God. Paul certainly followed that pattern. As I read over the book of Acts and study his travels I am amazed at how much he accomplished in his life. It was not always smooth sailing either. He spoke of shipwrecks, beatings, whippings, and even being stoned (II Cor. 11:22-28). How can a person endure, how can a person keep it going amid so much pressure? The answer is found in the gospels. Let us go back to Mark 1. A few lines ago I mentioned that Jesus worked long into the night. Do you know what happened that following morning? Jesus go up early, while it was still dark, went to a desolate place (that is a place where no one went to) and prayed. Jesus went and really recharged his batteries. He didn’t do it with an Xbox or a Playstation. He didn’t do it with movie tickets or tickets to the big game. He didn’t do it with a game of 21 with his buddies or a casual jog through the country side. He did it with prayer. He found rest for his soul not by sleeping but by getting up and praying.
Jesus put it like this, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).” Rest is found in God. Rest is found in coming to the Lord. Recreation, rebirth is found in bringing your weary soul to him. Too often we forget this. We spend so much time and energy trying to go at it alone. But, even our Savior took time to be reborn. He encourages you to get your spiritual batteries recharged.
This week I am going to spend the week being recreated. My wife and I are going to go to a desolate place to pray, to heal, to find rest for our souls. I look forward to meeting my Savior. I am looking forward to being reminded how light his load is. I encourage you to do the same. Take some time this week to go to a desolate place and pray.