TGIF -- I am really thankful to God that it's Friday! It's been a long winter and a long semester. I thank God for giving me little reminders to slow down, to "do" less activity and "be" more of Christ's character -- to talk less and listen more, to be grateful and joyful for God's providence, and to let go of worry. Last week, one of my students popped by my office hours just to encourage me and thank me for doing devotions every day in class. Then he added, "I hope you're able to take a real Sabbath rest this weekend; it looks like you need it." It's true; I really needed to block out time to rest with God and be grateful for what He's given. A couple weeks ago, a church friend with whom I hadn't chatted for several months gave me a firm reminder and exhortation just to let go, to enjoy the community at church and not to try to fix all the problems. Our visit to Rivendell last week was a good reminder, too, of how I need regularly to rest in God's presence, not worrying about my life or future, but just trusting that God will lead the way one step at a time.
Classes end early for me on Fridays, so after praise chapel today I took my regular trip south of the border to fetch mail and gas up. It's always a nice feeling being back in the States -- although I suppose it's purely psychological! The drive out to Aldergrove and then to Lynden is so beautiful and relaxing. People ask me about the long commute I have to church, and I tell them that I actually enjoy driving! (It's just the traffic that's not so pleasant! :) ) Even when I'm stuck in traffic, it's a strangely liberating feeling to know that I can't do anything about it -- I've done my responsibility, and the rest is out of my hands -- so I might as well enjoy the time. I can always crank up Praise 106.5 FM, or the MP3 player, and worship God in music and prayer.
As I'm typing this, I've just finished my late lunch in Lynden, at the lovely Sidewalk Cafe. The shops are lined up in a tidy little replica of a Dutch street, complete with canal, footbridges, streetlights, and park benches -- all indoors! Rather handy considering all the rainy weather we get around here. As I was walking in, I saw a young father in his early 30s holding his crying daughter, about 6 years old, in his lap. She was rather upset about something (I later overheard that it was because she was unable to wear her new flowery dress for today) and wasn't too happy with her daddy, but yet was still clinging around his neck, as he reasoned softly with her and held her gently. I have to confess that seeing this made me a little teary-eyed; it was such a touching scene. I thought of saying something to him just to encourage him that he was being a good dad, but in the end I chickened out. His tenderness reminded me that even when we are upset or downtrodden in life, even when we are mad at God, our Heavenly Father still holds us tight in his arms, gently speaking words of Truth, alluring us back with His love.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.Cease from anger and forsake wrath;Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.-- Psalm 37:7-8