REST: Take the Day Off plus Rest in Forgiveness
REST.That was my word for this year.I have prayed, rested, listened, read. And I am still seeking to discern what all God has been saying to me.One very tangible outcome of my focus on REST occurred mid-year. REST became the theme of the annual June 2 Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals. For two months leading up to our day on our knees, I wrote mini-devotionals on REST for our community. I thought I knew where I was going with each one, but God had something specific and different to say with each one. I have been deeply ministered to by these simple sources of REST.I am posting the introduction here, followed by links to the other articles. Though they are written to those who love prodigals, each of us will find REST in these truths.
Take the Day Off
Dear Lover of Prodigals,Are you tired? Weary? Need a break?When you love a prodigal, it is often easy to say “yes!” to those questions.Our minds are exhausted trying to know where they are and what they are doing, and striving to find something that works. Our hearts are so weary from the battle, the confusion, the loss, the fear. Even our bodies are tired—depleted from conflict, sleep-deprived, worn out from going to and fro looking for help.God says, “Take the day off.”He is a fan of rest! He rested after creating the universe. He provided a day of rest for us. In fact, he commanded us to rest—he said everyone in the home, including the animals—needs to take a day off and REST! He even required that the land get a year off every seven years.I think God is really serious about REST. And I believe this is the theme he has given us for the 2011 Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals. It is just over 9 weeks until June 2—9 weeks for us to prepare to do major battle for our very loved wanderers.Our first focus will be on finding rest for ourselves—our bodies, our minds, our spirits. But we will also talk about praying rest for our prodigals.Just think how weary they must be as they fight against us, against their demons and addictions and against the eternal God. Perhaps some rest for their souls will give them the will to abandon the fight they have chosen and walk a different path.Our theme verse is Jeremiah 6:16: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”Over these next 9 weeks I will send additional thoughts on REST. Be seeking the Lord for yourself and for your prodigal.With love and grace,JudyHere are the links to the rest of the devotionals on REST:Rest in His PresenceRest in RepentanceRest in ReleaseRest in Giving ThanksRest on the Right RoadRest in ObedienceRest in PerseveranceRest in the PromisesAnd finally, here is one more post, previously unpublished:
Rest in Forgiveness
Dear Lover of Prodigals,I still remember the night he lied to me on his way to spend the night with his girlfriend.The terrible things he said to me in his great drunkenness.The night he and his high friends frightened our house guest into her room.And when he stole from his sister.The lies, the drinking and drugs, the stealing—they happened a lot. There were consequences, but there were also God-given grace and mercy.But those specific events—they have been harder. I have forgiven them many times. I put them behind me and move on in peace. But then something triggers a memory, the pain resurfaces, the anger returns. And once again I need to consciously extend mercy—I need to forgive. He, of course, knows nothing of this ongoing battle over past offenses.Unforgiveness is exhausting.Eventually our prodigals need to know they are forgiven for all they have done—though usually that need comes after they have made some kind of turn around. We are the ones who are being worn out and worn down when we are not able to forgive. But what about consequences? Yes, there will be consequences.But we must forgive them—and in that forgiveness we will find rest.Conflict by definition implies lack of rest. Conflict, being wronged, the ongoing battle: all of these bring offense, something we hold on to, grievances we embrace. And that grasping will surely exhaust us.God has given us the key:Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)So, is there something you are holding on to, a wrong from your loved one that you have not forgiven? Take it to Jesus. Consciously forgive. Then the door is open for peace. For conflict to dissipate. For REST.In His mercy, JudyWhere have you found rest?c 2011 Judy Douglass