A little rests helps to prepare for the future

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2013

I love surprises. The little unexpected turns in life. The serendipity moments.
Every year I experience this when I see my mock orange plant, which appears dead and dried up all winter, prove the life it had all along by bursting into greenery and beautiful white flowers each spring.
An even better surprise was watching the child, name purposely withheld, who was once on the verge of failing seventh-grade reading, turn a corner to become not only an avid reader but an insightfully gifted writer.
And then there are the short verses in the Bible I find tucked here and there that display God’s nature as much as a lengthy Psalm. Want to know one of my favorites? Exodus 15:27. Don’t look it up just yet; let me set the scene for you.
The Israelites have been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. God uses Moses to lead them on their first trip out of the country, through the Red Sea and into a desert. For three days, the people cannot find water. Finally, they spy a source and surely race to it, only to discover the water is bitter. Undrinkable. Tempting,
readily available, but useless to quench their thirst. Under the Lord’s direction, Moses tosses a tree into the water, and the bitter water becomes sweet. God then reminds them, “I am the Lord, Who heals you.”
I know. You’re surprised I’m not focusing on the lessons in the previous paragraph. God’s deliverance from bondage. Power to lead His people through anything. The deception of appearances. Turning circumstances around when we obey. God’s healing. All important lessons just begging to be studied individually, but I’m anxious to get to the 27th verse of Exodus 26.
“Then they came to Elim, where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees, and they camped there near the water.”
Again, I could get caught up in the Biblical meaning of the numbers 12 and 70, and I would actually enjoy doing so; however, I don’t want to miss the overall message this verse delivers. Knowing what they had been through and just as importantly, what was ahead, God brought them to Elim. A desert oasis. A break from their dusty journey. Refreshment for their weary bodies. Rest so they could sort out the events of the past month. Maybe even a little opportunity for relaxation and restoration as they stretched out before the water they camped near.
Just 21 words. One sentence. Yet it causes me to pause every time. To thank God, not only for giving these newly-freed slaves a little vacation, but for recording it in His Word. It’s my gentle reminder to occasionally slow down, rest a while, recover from the past and prepare for the future. And I surely won’t complain if He leads me to palm trees and water.
Ronny may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.