I volunteered (read, “Got my arm twisted”, “Got suckered into”) substituting an AP Calculus course for seniors for two weeks. As a side note, an engineering degree doesn’t really prepare you to teach AP calculus….anyway.
Thankfully (trust me, they’re probably saying this too) it ends tomorrow for me and they get their real teacher back Monday. One of the things I noticed with this group who is about half my age is how busy they are. Some of their busyness is self induced because they are so connected to their devices and such, but a lot of the busyness is becoming the norm for students these days. They have lots of demands and pressures placed upon them by themselves, coaches, parents, teachers, colleges, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, a little pushing might be good, but at some point they need to learn to rest.
I am convinced (as I preached to them about today) that the current teenagers today(and all people for that matter) who can find a way to rest in God just a little bit each day will have a distinct advantage spiritually over others. Here’s the deal, when you are living under all of these demands and pressures, and you are flying from one thing to the next, and you are texting with others nonstop, you don’t have a minute to pause and remember who you are; the beloved of God. We need to find a moment to stop and reflect on the fact that our identity is in Jesus Christ, a loved child of God, and nothing else.
So today I dropped another letter in the mail to my sister who is undergoing rehab for drug addiction. I can’t even imagine how hard that is, but at the same time I also can’t imagine how freeing each day must be. In one sense she’s working really hard and I’m very proud of her. In another sense, she’s learning to rest in God and surrender to him. And at the end of the note I wrote a line from Jesus: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” After I wrote that down, I reflected for a moment on how good that news must be to someone who literally knows the enslavement of addiction.
Rest. What a beautiful thought.
“When the pressure and pain of addiction is dominating your thoughts, I will give you rest.”
“When your school, grades, teachers, parents, coaches, or whoever makes you feel like you don’t measure up, I will give you rest.”
“When you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, come to me and find some rest.”
“When your kids are rebellious and driving you nuts, come to me and I will give you rest.”
“When you feel like faith and following me is about working yourself to death to prove something, come to me and I will remind you who you are, and give you rest.”
As Randy Harris said in a wonderful chapel speech at Abilene Christian University this week, “Can we find some time to waste with God?” I think if we can, if we can find some time to slow down, pause, be quiet and see that we are the beloved of God, we can find rest like no other. And in a world that pulls me one million directions at a time, that sounds like really good news.