The greatest adventure of your life
In March, I resigned from my job to learn how to rest. It sounds silly, but I don’t know how to rest. I don’t really understand work/life balance and I have a really hard time turning that voice in my brain off. The first week of unemployment, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Does “resting” mean sleeping for 15 hours? Does it mean watching 12 “Gilmore Girls” re-runs in one day? How often am I supposed to see people? I was restless and anxious and didn’t know how to spend this new free time. So I booked a vacation to California.
One of my very best friends lives in California, so I planned a few days to visit him and a few days to have a mini-retreat with God. After a few wonderful days in Rancho Cucamonga (the best city name ever, if you ask me), I drove solo to the Pacific Coast. It was too early to check into my hotel, so I took a detour and hiked the Laguna Canyon. I laced up my gym shoes, clicked on my hydration belt and studied the six-mile trail map the park ranger gave me. This little trail quickly led up the mountain and after a few minutes, it was just nature and I. As I hiked up the mountain, I poured out my heart to God — everything from the past few years, all of the thoughts and questions I’ve had, and I asked Him to reveal His heart to me.
There’s this story in the book of 1 Kings where the prophet Elijah has this really cool God moment. When his enemies find out, they threaten to kill him so he runs for his life. He runs into the wilderness and tells God to essentially take his life because he’s so afraid and exhausted. “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died,” he says (1 Kings 19:4). He had just witnessed miracle after miracle, but forgot. God, instead of being angry or upset at Elijah, sends an angel to feed him. Then, the angel encourages him to sleep. The angel wakes him up later to feed him again.
This story touches the depths of my soul. A lot of times, I think people envision God as this big, mighty guy in the sky, ready to yell and punish us. But the Bible says that God’s essence is hesed. His character is hesed. Hesed is a Hebrew word that means “loving-kindness.” He looks at us, His very own creation, with loving-kindness. It is who He is.
Do you ever think about your birth? The Bible says that before God knit us in our mother’s womb, He knew us (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13). He chose to create us. We are precious in His sight (Isaiah 43:4). He is the artist and we are His masterpiece.
After Elijah is well-rested and nourished, God meets him on a mountain. All of a sudden, there’s a mighty windstorm. “But the Lord was not in the wind” (1 Kings 19:11). Then, there’s an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake (1 Kings 19:11). Then, there’s a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire (1 Kings 19:12). After the fire, there was a still, small voice. And God was there.
I don’t think you have to go to the top of a mountain to hear God’s still, small voice. I do think he does beautiful things when He helps us quiet our mind, though. And as I poured out my heart to God on that California mountain, He met me there. He reminded me of things I had forgotten. He started to fill me up with hope and joy. Later in the vacation, through the people I met and the books I read, He spoke to the deepest parts of my heart. And He answered my prayer — He revealed His heart to me. His loving-kindness heart.
I have so many more stories that I will share another day, but let me just say, He is real and He is more than you could have ever imagined. You can trust Him because His essence is goodness and love. Ask Him to reveal His heart to you. Keep asking. Ask Him to open your eyes. He will feed you and help you rest in Him and He’ll feed you again. He will fill your soul in a way no one else can. And He will invite you in to the greatest adventure of your life.