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A time to rest

A time to rest

A time to rest

29 December 2021

By Jo-Anne Brown

Picture this – you have been walking through the desert with a group of people, having left behind all you know, all that is familiar. You have stepped into freedom, but that freedom is a bit scary because you don’t know where you are going.

For three days, you walk in the desert, surrounded by hot sand and dry wind, without any sight of water. When you finally come across some water, it is bitter, and your heart plummets. But God intervenes, and the water becomes fresh and drinkable.

You drink and drink, and then continue walking. Soon, on the horizon, you see a smudge of green. You dare not hope – perhaps this is just another mirage. But then you see movement, and the green becomes more prominent – eventually, emerging from the endless sand, you see the welcoming green of a grove of palm trees.

You keep on going, the green drawing you ever closer. Finally, you stumble into the shade of dozens and dozens of palm trees, surrounding a dozen springs of water. You lay down your load, bathing your face, then your feet in the cool, clear water. You lie down in the shade, allowing a cooling breeze to caress your face. You breathe deeply – and rest.

There is a time and a season for everything. There are seasons of desert wandering, when all is dry and stagnant, when each step seems almost impossible, when all that we are doing (even the good things) exhausts us. These are the seasons when we long for fresh, clear water, for cooling shade, for time to breathe and to rest.

No season, however, is final. For every desert experience, there is an oasis. In the desert, God walks with us. From the desert, our God calls us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Major Jo-Anne Brown is a retired officer in Queensland.

 

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