The Gift of His Presence

The weekly study group has gathered up materials, closed its books in satisfaction, and is already looking ahead to the new topic. It has been an enlightening two-and-a-half months of honest discussion on busy-ness. But I linger here contemplating rest, lagging behind like a hopeful child wanting one more taste of holiday.

I am beginning to recognize that inner Over-achiever that has such trouble saying no; it’s getting easier to ignore her. Starting to answer eagerly, not afraid to be specific, when I hear Jesus say, “What do you want me to do for you?” Longing to have His presence more than His answers, to trust His timing more than my control. Finding the results in small unexpected ways, in my everyday. (I  wonder if it is only coincidence that I have been sleeping deeply and peacefully at night?) But there is more to learn here. I have the sense that I have only just opened the door to a room full of treasure. And frankly I can’t get enough of listening to Jesus. Mary of Bethany’s rapt attention at His feet comes to mind, and I feel sure that setting the table or checking the bread in the oven never even crossed her mind.

The commandment to “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8) is so much more than rules about what to do on a certain day. It is, at its heart, God calling us back to the intimacy of the Garden, a reminder that He wants relationship with us. The commandment is a formal covenantal declaration of what Jesus will tell His followers many centuries later with His “Come to Me…and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) In Jesus, all our longings for Sabbath-rest and relationship are fulfilled. Because of Jesus, the door is swung wide open to us and we are always welcomed into His presence. But from the beginning of time, God has consistently left the choice up to us. And from the beginning, the Enemy has consistently misrepresented that choice to us, distracted us with other shiny options. If we could understand the gift we are being given as clearly as Mary did, the choice would be simpler.

So let’s look at our choices and their consequences with clear eyes, see our busyness from a fresh vantage-point and listen to Jesus’ invitation with ears to hear. Our hopes will not disappoint when we meet Him there.


“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9-11)


“Heavy laden is often the result of listening to the shoulds of the bossy inner voice that degrades passion into duty and joy into meaninglessness.” (Shelly Miller)