I recently flew, with my frequent flyer miles, to Portland Oregon. I was going to see what all the hype was about. Apparently, the city is filled with breweries, suspicious amounts of coffee and hippies or hipsters (depending on your definition). If your wondering, my definition of a hipster is someone that wants to be a hippy, but has more money. They drink the high priced, organic, locally made coffee. And they love beer, which is why their microbreweries are in abundance.
I flew in, hopped on a train and went straight to my hostel. I knew my night would be short, as I would be jet lagged and tired from travel. I needed a good night sleep before starting on my adventure.
I had a couple simple goals for my time away. First, to have no agenda. Other than the couple small things I had planned, such as hiking in the beautiful mountains south of Portland, the plan was to have no plan. Second, to NOT wrestle. I’ve been wrestling with God recently, asking hard questions and not really getting any answers. I’ve been stressed at work and I felt that I hadn’t gotten much rest the last couple months. Not sleep, but spiritual and emotional rest. I needed my mind to stop.
So here I was. In a city I haven’t been to before: a land flowing with coffee, beer and books (they have the largest book store in the United States) and no plan.
In the moment
It was wonderful. I had some of the best rest I have had in a long time. I felt free to be who God created me to be. I talked with people, made new friends, spent my time however I wanted and met up with some old friends. I could let loose, laugh and not think about things ahead or the difficult things behind. I was in the moment, and those moments allowed my mind to refresh.
God commanded us to Sabbath. He wasn’t suggesting that we take one day a week and not work, He commanded it.
He created holidays, which were a time when His people came together to just be together. There were no tasks and no checklists. They were supposed to live life with one another, have fun and realize that their value didn’t come out of what they produced. But they had value because God gave it to them.
My time in Portland allowed me to realize that even if I’m wrestling with God, He still loves me because He created me. That I don’t need to think a certain way or create anything in order to gain favor or acceptance.
I’m allowed to wrestle, just as much as I’m allowed to rest.
And you know what? Rest allowed my mind to breathe. In this moment, all those lofty arguments and disappointments from my past don’t seem to compare to a great and holy God. They shrink in comparison to the goodness that God has shown me. I’m thankful for what God has done in my life and that thankfulness has overwhelmed all those doubting thoughts.
I don’t pretend to know that tomorrow won’t bring me back to my wrestling or that my questions won’t appear back in my thoughts. If there is anything I have learned: it’s that life is hard and no matter how much you pray for your day to be a “good day”, there will be bad days.
My challenge to myself and the reader: Let’s take God’s command to Sabbath seriously.
Jason LaLone was on staff at YWAM Brisbane and is currently in America working with Truro Anglican Church located in Fairfax, Virginia. He is passionate about discipleship, taking Jesus’ command to make disciples a practical reality that he can live on a daily basis. He loves lasagna, cats and used to dislike Monday's, making him most like Garfield.
Jason LaLone’s previous articles might be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/Jason-LaLone.html