Peace. Be Still.
No matter where, no matter when, if my cell phone rings I answer it. It is an appendage. It became so long before smart phones were a thing.
Long ago, I made the decision that my cell phone would not be out of my reach. In fact, I had it on the lectern during a presentation to the Governor, back when I worked for state government. The ringer was off. The phone was set to vibrate.
My mother’s health was the first to falter. It didn’t take long for me to become the default family member she called when she became ill. No matter what the time of day or night I jumped and high-tailed it to her house to take her to the emergency room. She didn’t want the neighbors to see an ambulance at the house, plus the insurance would not cover one if she was not admitted to the hospital.
In the beginning, it was rare that Mom called. Over the course of four years, it progressed to the point I just could not work. Even with being self-employed it became so frequent I just cancelled contracts or allowed them to expire. Mom waited until nine or ten o’clock to decide to go to the hospital. That automatically meant not getting out of the emergency room till six in the morning. After picking up meds, and running her home, I just could not function enough to work.
I wasn’t prepared for the transition. I didn’t have the support systems I needed. My siblings are from my parents’ relationships before they married, and I was born. We were not raised together, and the dysfunction is legendary.
I found myself exhausted, physically and emotionally. I would spend hours in the emergency room with Mom, without food or water. Arthritis in my spine made me miserable sitting there, and the neuropathy in my legs would fire up making it nearly impossible to remain seated. The next days became a series of post emergency room doctor visits, changing medical appointments, and getting prescriptions filled for Mom. Those things snowballed into changing my personal appointments, getting behind on my housework, paying bills, and general life. My temper would grow short, and my family paid the price on occasion.
Many mornings after Wayne left for work I would sit in my chair, put my elbow on the armrest, my face in my hand, and just cry out to the Lord for strength. “Lord Father,” I often began. “I am so tired! I am just so tired. I love my mother, but I am so tired. Please, help me rest.” Sometimes I didn’t even say a word. I just sat there, thinking a prayer in my head.
God hears our prayers. Whether audible, boisterous declarations of praise, or the silent groaning of our spirit. My spirit groaned – a lot! When it did the Spirit would say, “Give it to Him, and leave it there.”
It can be difficult for our human selves to give our trouble to the Lord. We tend to claw them back, if we let go at all.
We know that Jesus became physically tired, and emotionally exhausted. The most prominent example is when he spent the 40 days in the mountains after John the Baptist baptized him. With no food or water, he fasted and prayed. When he was at his lowest, Satan came to him to tempt Jesus with power and glory, if only he would bow to him. He resisted Satan’s temptations.
We also know that he was resting in the boat when a storm arose. The disciples became afraid, woke Him, and said, ““Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” (I know that feeling! I bet you do too!)
The Lord rebuked the storm, turned to the disciples and asked them, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:24)
The Lord gave me rest. It did not necessarily come at that moment, but it came. The act of asking Him and giving Him charge over my exhaustion was a relief in itself. It was cathartic.
You and I are each at different places in our life’s journey. I give my troubles to the Lord in prayer. You may find it easy to write your concerns on a slip of paper, and symbolically give them to the Lord, then burn the paper to signify not being able to take them back. We both must resist the urge to claw them back and begin worrying again. We must learn to recognize when we are ruminating the same old troubles.
Mark 4:39 records Jesus saying, “Peace. Be still” when he rebuked the storm. I can hear Him telling me the same, using the Holy Spirit, when I come to him with the exhaustion and the storms of life.