Thursday, October 28, 2021

Slowing Down

Sure, you say. Maybe Jesus turned around. Maybe Jesus stopped. Maybe Jesus made it a point to connect with the persons who were coming to Him, even if they couldn't get all the way there. But that doesn't mean He liked it. That doesn't mean that's the way He wanted it. Remember, this is the Jesus who said that Moses only let humans divorce as a concession to the sinful nature that they just couldn't get away from. 

If Jesus had His way, you say, we'd get all the way there or we wouldn't come at all. If Jesus had His way, He'd never have to stop. 

O ye, of little faith.

The Gospels are full of stories of Jesus stopping just because He wanted to. Jesus was the master at settling into a rhythm of rest. And He stopped all the time. The Gospel writers even tell us about these times - then Jesus went to the mountain to pray, then Jesus went to a secluded place to be alone, then Jesus got into a boat to cross the lake and get away from the crowds for a bit. This is a Jesus who was sleeping in a boat in the midst of a storm because He knew how important it was to stop. To rest. To take a few minutes. 

And in fact, we can say that Jesus was exceptionally good at stopping because, except for a very few sentences here or there, not even the disciples were able to tell us the content of His quiet time. None of the Gospels record what Jesus did when He went to the mountain to pray or what He was dreaming about in that boat or what He was up to when He was in a secluded place alone. Jesus not only stopped; He did so with such perfect fullness that no one can tell us what that even meant to Him. 

Perhaps that's why it is so difficult for us to remember this about Him. 

But it's true. This Jesus that we think was always on the go, that couldn't be troubled (or shouldn't be troubled) to slow down for anything - this Jesus that we fear is inconvenienced by having to slow down for us - chose to slow down on His own. A lot. In fact, He made it a priority. 

That's because Jesus knows what our flesh so often forgets - that we were made for rest. That He was made for rest. That all this busyness is just noise; real life happens in the quiet moments. 

I just wonder how it would change our relationship with Jesus if we understood this. If we knew how it was woven into His DNA to stop. To come back. To carve out a moment in time and not even consider it 'time.' If we knew how much He actually loves to stop. If we realized that He's not like us - He doesn't want to be going all the time, and He doesn't feel like He has to be. 

Would we, then, let ourselves fall? Would we surrender? Would we be willing to collapse and to cry out and to not only let Him come back for us, but know for certain that He would? And that He wouldn't begrudge us for it but would actually treasure such a moment? 

That's the truth right there. Jesus treasures it when He gets to come back for you. When He gets to stop for you. When He gets to take a moment in the middle of a crowd that is pressing against Him on all sides, turn around, and see your weary face. Your weary, dirty, tear-stained face crying out with its last breath, hoping - trusting - He will hear you. Knowing His love for you. Remembering that this is the God who crossed eternity to walk with you for just a breath and there is no way in Hell that He's going to let two or three feet of dirt road stand between you and Him. No way that He's going to come all this way just to let you fall short. Not a chance. 

Our God is a God who stops, who loves to stop, who has been stopping for us - to take time with us, to love us, to be with us - since the seventh day. What on earth makes us think He wouldn't do the same right now?  

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