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An Invitation to Rest
January 22, 2020
“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
I never knew that Charlie was such a sweet cat until he almost died. Once just a stray, he came to be our much loved house cat while he recovered from feline distemper and a massive abscess on his face.
Sweet as he is, though, Charlie could fight like a tiger when scared. Coming from generations of feral cats, he still had the wild streak in him that would fight like the Tasmanian Devil when he thought the situation warranted it. I suspected that suture removal would likely be one of those situations requiring full out claw and tooth instinctive attack mode.
Since the wound left by his abscess was so huge, it required several stitches that needed to be removed after it healed. Of course this would require another trip back to the veterinarian and we absolutely dreaded the dastardly deed.
We knew that, even if we did somehow manage to bundle him up in a blanket and shove him into a carrying cage, Charlie would be so traumatized that it would take him weeks (judging from past experience) for him to forgive and trust us again.
Days and weeks passed and we kept procrastinating since neither my son Avi nor I wanted to go through all the trauma, time and trouble this trip back to the vet would entail. It would definitely mean more yowling and crying all the way in the car and back, more fear and suffering for Charlie; and yet another anesthetic (since they said that a misplaced sharp instrument could inadvertently poke out an eye during a struggle), not to mention the deficit of several more hundred shekels.
We knew we had to do it; we just didn’t want to. Every day I cursed the fact that they didn’t use dissolvable sutures. One evening, Charlie was sitting on my lap, warm and relaxed in front of the fire, purring contentedly.
Tentatively, slowly and gently, I began to touch the side of his face that had the nylon stitches. He didn’t seem to mind at all; in fact, he quite enjoyed it. I suddenly had this crazy thought, “Maybe I can just snip the sutures and pull them out myself right now as he is so quiet and relaxed.”
Avi ran to get me a pair of nail clippers and sure enough, snip, pull, snip, pull, snip, pull… and we were all done - and without any muss or fuss at all! Halleluyah! Charlie barely opened his sleepy eyes; and continued purring through the whole procedure.
“It is finished!” I proclaimed. Now that's what I call ‘amazing grace’! It is the little things like this in life that make us so very thankful to the Father of all grace who can enable us to do what could be very difficult things with such ease.
When I looked at Charlie, resting so peacefully, I thought of how he doesn’t even know what he was just saved from. He has no awareness that, because of his quiet, calm, peaceful state of being, he was saved from a great deal of trauma and trouble. All he had to do was rest in my lap and I took care of everything.
Had he become upset, agitated and fearful, this story would have had a very different ending - a scenario that both Charlie and myself would have found extremely unpleasant.
I began to think about me and God. How many times has He saved me from something horrendous, without me even knowing about it, simply because I chose to rest and trust in Him?
This has given me a whole new understanding of the Scripture: The Holy One of Israel says, “Only in returning to Me and resting in Me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
Unfortunately, the opposite situation is probably equally as true. I’m sure that there have been situations where God probably wanted to save me from trouble and trauma but couldn’t because I got all upset, anxious and scared.
When a drowning person panics, it’s hard for the lifeguard to save him for all his thrashing about. So too with us and God. We need to be peaceful, relaxed, and quiet in His arms while He does what needs to be done in our lives.
My daily devotional reminded me today that rests are part of every musical composition; and times of rest need to be part of the music of our lives as well. So we can accept, even times of enforced rest, through sickness or circumstance, as a necessary ‘pause’ in the busyness of our lives.
I tend, at times, to fret about many little, trivial things; but the Bible tells us not to fret about situations - it only makes things worse.
“Do not fret—it only causes harm.” (Psalm 37:8)
We are also not to be fearful or anxious about anything; but just to give it all to God in prayer, stay in peace, and trust in Him. (Phil 4:6-7)
In the Psalms we have a picture of a weaned child, quiet and secure in his mother’s arms.
“Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:2)
I am going to try and remember this the next time I face a trial or difficulty. If I want God to help me, then instead of becoming agitated and upset, I need to still and quiet my soul; and simply rest in His arms.
To help me stay in peace (shalom), I am going to think of Charlie - how he trusted me enough to remain calm and let me do what I needed to do for him.
Charlie and his brother Timmie resting together on my bed
God is a Good Father; and He knows what is best for us. May we have the grace to trust Him enough to be still and quiet before Him, allowing Him to work out whatever is needed in our lives.