Like Eden’s Cooling Breeze

As I look ahead, these next weeks weigh heavily upon me. They will be filled with travel. Yes, I will see dear people that I love. But there will be meetings. Debates. And more meetings. Concerns about church and care for sheep burden me. Then a long, long flight to follow. Messages to preach.

I confess I lack the strength for it all. My body, along with my dear wife, has been telling me for a while that I am weary. A lab report concurred. Anemia? Me? Finally, I stopped resisting and agree. Extra rest, quiet walks with my love by my side, and vitamins have already helped.

I am thankful too for this gentlest of summer Sabbath morns. The whir of hummingbird wings near my porch chair contrasts distinctly with the pileated’s thumping on the old oak up front. The dawn’s soft rays make the woods appear to come slowly to life, as if preparing to obey the psalmist and sing for joy. Indeed, they do, as cardinal and titmouse and robin and chickadee and wren harmonize from their branches. Like Eden’s cooling breeze, the morning air refreshes my face.

Yet that little cup that is my mind overflows with thoughts and, here again I confess, the worries of it all. I need more than this taste of creative glory.

The Lord of the Sabbath knows this of me. He sees that my heart is tumultuous, too much like the whirling dark clouds, blustery winds, and beating rains of a June storm. So he speaks, and, like the sudden quiet of stopping under a bridge in a summer downpour, he stills my soul. 

Words of Scripture, too long dormant in my reading, respond to the Spirit, leaping to life and encouraging my thirsty heart. Love and goodness all my life will follow me, taking me to his eternal dwelling, he says. He tells me through Ezekiel that he is a sanctuary to his people. Later that day, I will hear with the congregation, both morning and evening, preachers faithfully telling me of my sin, leading me to confess, and helping me set my eyes again on heaven’s glory come to earth. How wondrous to experience that Christ is, and has become again, my sanctuary.

I am quiet now. That peace of his that you cannot understand but cannot live without has come. I praise him, then rise, grateful that his soul-strengthening presence goes with me wherever I go.

4 Comments

  1. Mary Broderick June 27, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

    Wow, are you kidding.? I hope so. This is no time to grow weary and faint. This is the time we need to mount up on wings like eagles and let the wind of the Spirit bear us up to dwell in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and make Him the strength of our lives! No battle has ever been won by an army from a defensive position, the enemy will beat you up every time. This battle is for the souls of men and women wordwide and we are on the Lord’s side, the position of victory. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force. Also read Daniel 7:18 and Rev: 11:15. Be a doer of Ephesians chapter 6 and the strength of Jesus will quicken you by His Spirit to put all your enemies under your feet.
    I humbly suggest you change the title of your ministry from one of defense to one of offense and start a fire in the spirits of everyone who runs to read it.
    Mary Broderick exhorter

    • Barry York June 29, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

      I take comfort that my Savior is complete. He was hungry though he is my Bread of Life, thirsted though he gives me rivers of living waters, and grew tired though he gives me rest.

  2. Bob Copeland June 29, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

    Barry: Beautifully written. Yes, you are facing a number of “stressors” this summer, and they are not just beginning now and will not end in August. This is a good reminder that God is so gracious in giving us a weekly Sabbath. But it’s difficult for a minister to get much rest on that day. God did not design our bodies to endure stress 24/7/365—not even a high-energy person such as yourself. It’s OK to need some down-time in order to take care of the body God provides. (For years I thought I was imperishable—physically, that is—and drove my body beyond what it could take. Now in old age, I’m paying the price for that lack of stewardship.) Thank you for taking time to listen to the songbirds and smell the flowers!
    BTW: the statement from “Mary” that “No battle has ever been won by an army from a defensive position” is simply not true historically. Well meant, perhaps, but counterfactual.

    • Barry York June 29, 2017 at 6:44 pm #

      Thank you for your words of encouragement, Bob.

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