The word from the Lord was timely. It was personal and much needed.
Sue Ann had been in Michigan for several days when I joined her on September 21. We were there to help her mother through a major transition: the closing of the sale of her home, the disposition of its contents, and her coming to live with us until her new place was ready.
I admire my mother-in-law’s courage in the face of such change. She had a plan and moved forward resolutely. She contracted with a realtor and put her home on the market. She had a buyer within a week. She hired a company to conduct an estate sale. She made arrangements for a storage unit and hired a moving company. She made alternate accommodations for the interim between when the movers came and when she handed the keys over to the new owner. She had a plan.
We were there to help execute her plan. Within the plan there were still a number of loose ends to tie up. There was packing to be done, details to finalize, and errands to run.
Add to that the emotional piece of the picture … for me, I mean. (I’m just a sappy guy, after all.) The sale my mother-in-law’s house was another step in moving from one season of life to another. My father-in-law passed away four and a half years ago. I still miss him. We really enjoyed playing “Hearts” together around the card table in their home. Whenever I would catch a fish from the lake behind their house, he would make a big deal over it. He would come out on the deck, take a look at the fish, and remark about how big it was.
The house where all this—and many family Christmases, games of charades and Pictionary, Thanksgiving dinners, grandchildren growing up … the house where all this took place had been sold and was now passing out of the family. And it was my primary fishing spot! Many are the largemouth bass I pulled out of that lake and then set free to be caught again!
So here I was in the middle of memories, emotions, a seemingly overwhelming to-do list, questions and uncertainties, when God spoke to me. One morning, a couple of days into my time there, I opened my One Year Bible for my daily reading. The Psalm for the day was Psalm 62. Verses 1-2 and 5-6 really captured my attention:
1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. … 5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
The Lord was speaking to me, giving me both a word of encouragement and a word of exhortation. He encouraged me with the statement of verse 1 that my soul finds rest in God alone. Ahh, how often I look for rest of soul in other things, like life continuing in predictable, familiar patterns. Change is a hard pill to swallow. Real rest for our souls is found in one place and one place only—God. God our Creator and loving Father. God who opens His hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing. God who is good all the time. God who knows what is best.
But God also exhorted me from this same passage. What was phrased as a statement in verse 1 is rephrased as a command in verse 5: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.” Don’t look elsewhere to find inner tranquility. Find that peace in God alone. After all, He is the unchanging One. Or, as Psalm 62 says twice in these opening verses, He is the Rock. He is the stable and solid footing for life. Houses come and go, God remains the same. Seasons come and seasons go, God goes with His people through every season. Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.
I was so strengthened by the Word of the Lord to me. I shared it with Sue Ann and later with my mother-in-law. It was God’s good Word to us in the middle of this big transition.
The plan has been executed. All three of us are now in Iowa. But the word of the Lord still sticks with me. “My soul finds rest in God alone. … Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.”