I have been so busy lately, and you could say laden with many burdens. It’s not that it’s been terrible, just a lot of things, on several fronts at the same time. And it’s not that I mind the work, or figuring out the answers to the challenges life has sent my way. That’s what it’s all about, and I’m on board with the program. But I suppose you could say I’ve felt tired. It’s been one of those times in life where the daily routine is to simply go from task to task, surface for food, water and sleep, and repeat. Gratitude for daily bread and bed takes on a fresh and wonderful perspective. But there has simply not been much time for communing with my soul, or for any of the reading and activities that seasons of leisure provide. But I saw a t-shirt today that woke my spirit out of her mental hiatus. The shirt said “All is well with my soul.” The response swelled up in an instant – All is not well with my soul! The silence that followed was pregnant with unspoken meaning. So was the doubt. Well, it’s not, is it? That was the reply I wanted to make. True as it may have felt, my heart knew better. So I thought and prayed about it a little. And I came back to the words of the Shepherd.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Physical tiredness is one thing. But tiredness of heart and soul is another, and I knew that my doctor had come when I needed him. My heart had just admitted to not being well. But why did my soul not feel at peace? Why did I not feel his rest in my soul? Perhaps I have not been taking his yoke, but my own. Perhaps I have not been coming to him – definitely not as much lately, anyway, with all these things going on. And then a quiet thought. Is it possible that most of our wanderings away – and some of our spiritual weariness? – our lapses in memory, our goings astray are simply because at the moment of departure, we don’t really, truly believe? Could it be that we don’t come to him and take his yoke on ourselves, but go about finding solutions without him because we have forgotten that he really is? Is that why when difficulty knocks at our door, it is so easy to lose our focus on Him, and look for other answers, or alternate routes, even when we know full well (when we are away from the present difficulties and fears) that they are not real or true answers? If I had no doubt that God is real, and working in my life towards a good end, would I not be able to say confidently, “All is well with my soul?”
For he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
-Hebrews 11:5, 6, KJV
Perhaps that is the key – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. — And thy house.” Perhaps holding on to that focus in our heart and mind is the key that we need to put everything into the right perspective for us, and to help us maintain our hold on reality, even though we might only be able to see that reality through a glass, darkly… I pause as I remember how hard it was to focus on, and then keep the image of a gorilla in focus, in a magic eye book years ago. Perhaps my lesson right now is to simply not wander away in my heart and my mind, to learn not to lose my shining vision and knowledge of my Father, even when things get tough. And so, my soul is chided. My confidence and focus had wavered, and my eyes had lost sight of the man on the boat, for the mountains of rolling waves. He is the rock – it is we who wander.
Ah – Father! Bless me! How can I go on without your help, without your light? How can I be your child when I forget that you are my very own Father? But you are greater than I am, and rightly called my Rock, and my Salvation. I will cling to you. I will bring my soul back to trust in you. I will remember you – with my whole heart will I trust in your goodness and your strength, and I will wait for your salvation. With you in my life, how can all not be well with my soul?
I was reminded of the scripture,
This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4
But I had forgotten the first part of it –
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.
The second part is the “and.” For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world. And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. That is quite the promise – it doesn’t say “Whatsoever is born of God has a chance to overcome the world,” or “Whatsoever is born of God can probably overcome the world.” It says “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.” Period. I pulled up the interlinear dictionary to go deeper. The verse in the original Greek says this:
For everyone, having been born of God, overcomes the world.
Again, I am blown away – the promise seems to grow stronger, brighter, and more beautiful the deeper you dig. Isn’t it always like this with things that are good, and true? Everyone is born of God. And having been born of God, we will overcome the world. What a difference a word makes. From “Whatsoever,” with its lovely yet sort of general, rather archaic, sometimes cloudy definition, to a beautiful and shining everyone. You and me. Whenever I am reading a book I don’t understand or get immediately, I find that having some knowledge that the book really is “good,” or has some idea or thought that brings value, or even just that it has a good ending helps me greatly in pushing through and finishing the book. And so with the book of this life; if a man is in a palace, but knows he is to be hanged in the morning, all the comforts of the palace will lose their splendor, for the knowledge of certain death at dawn. And if a person is in the deepest of dungeons, but has certain knowledge of his being released in the morning, all the dreariness and despair that would usually be expected of a person in that condition will fade, for the glorious hope through their knowledge of release at dawn. I am born of God. I have a father. And He cares about me, and has a good ending planned for me. And with him, I not only can, but will overcome any challenge this world can bring my way. So all is well with my soul – this is the gift of the sons of God. We must simply be bold enough to receive it, strong enough to believe it, and brave enough to hold on to it.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a hope and a future.
So the girl is with Bear, and the Bear is with the girl. And the wood smells of Bear, and a shimmer of light’s in the air. 🌸