After having spent the last eight months in the States, things have been going well since we came back to Ethiopia—except that I have been sick off and on ever since we arrived in October. I was sick four different times in late October and early November, but each time for only a day or so before I was back to ‘normal.’ The fourth time I became ill, I got quite discouraged. There was so much to do! I could not afford to waste any more time being sick. We still had not finished unpacking, we had visitors coming, we needed to prepare for the holidays, and then there was all the work that was waiting for us when we returned! Fortunately, I felt fine again after a day or two and was able to once more tackle my to-do list.
However, the fifth time I got sick, I was too ill and too tired to even care about what I was not accomplishing. Taking the advice of my doctor, I did nothing but rest for a whole week. I did not DO anything for a whole week—something I am sure I have never done in my whole life! The most amazing thing was that even though I am such a ‘do-er’ by nature, I was not thinking at all about what I should be ‘doing.’ I was content to just rest.
As I stayed in bed that first week, God began to use the opportunity to speak of His overwhelming love for me (no matter what I do or do not do). He helped me process all that had happened over the last year and, most importantly, to learn how to just ‘be’ with Him. With a diagnosis of typhoid, the one week turned into six. I began to see more and more clearly that this time was not a ‘waste,’ but rather a huge gift. I never would have asked to take a month off to rest, think, read, pray, and spend time with the Lord (or have headaches, fever, and zero energy!), but God knew what I needed and gave me no choice.
Now that I am starting to get better, the struggle for me is how to continue to rest in Him in the midst of the to-do list and all the demands on my time. The busyness is still waiting for me, but I am determined not to let the busyness dictate who I am or what I do. Spending time just ‘being’ with my Father who loves me is so much more important than anything I think I need to ‘do’ (even if it is for Him). My only ‘job’ is to make our relationship the highest priority, because then He will do everything else in and through me.
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 has been the refrain being repeated in my head these past weeks. It has become my prayer for myself and for all of us, His children:
I pray that from God’s glorious, unlimited resources He will give us mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in our hearts as we learn to completely trust in Him. May our roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may we have the power to understand, as all God’s children should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May we experience the love of Christ, though it is so great that we will never fully understand it. Then we will be filled with the fullness of life and the power that comes from God.
(Ephesians 3:16-19, paraphrased a bit)
Yes, Lord, let us be deeply rooted in You!