A Growing Rest

Are you in rest? Truly?

I’ve been reminded of a kind of rest that is a bit different than the one typically held up by the world’s shiny, golden poles – one that it isn’t a place of standing still, or an ever-elusive destination. 

Instead of it being a place, I see it as a journey, where the Shepherd provides exactly enough to keep your belly filled with grassy jelly and your eyes shiny with glee.

You, in your absolute freedom of choice and independence, can definitely strike up some sweat on your brow and purchase yourself a fine piece of rest. But I can guarantee you, by the testimony of many a successful man and woman, that even that little plot will eventually crumble into something dry and empty. 

Jesus is the only everlasting key. Many a time, and certainly now, He’s a door-knock away, and waiting with open arms for us to enter His rest. For us who have accepted Christ in faith, we have to listen (and respond) to those tiny nuggets of divine wisdom that the Holy Spirit drops into our souls; the small things we need to do, repent of, or change, to clean our consciousness and enter His rest.

But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then  He  adds,  “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:15‭-‬22 NKJV

He already sees everything, and He is mighty to discern and divide between the things in your soul and spirit that are either rest-traps or rest-injectors. And when we clear out our conscience, we can boldly enter His throne of grace, where His provision is plenty. 

“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:7‭-‬16 NKJV

I mentioned it above – that this position of rest is one in which we are still moving and growing. If you’re still new, or even if you’re as old as a greybeard-goat, the scriptures point out the things of our fallen nature that we need to let die (the things that ultimately steal peace). A stagnant, dead, branch is eventually cut off and put into a very non-pleasant fire if it doesn’t bear fruit. And the only ticket from that everyday-hellfire is by turning back to Jesus so that he can plant you anew. 

So I urge you like I’ve recently been urged myself – grow in Jesus, be that delightful, soft, pliable piece of clay. Study the scriptures, lovingly help and be helped by your nearby brothers and sisters in Christ, and repent of those little things that build up like cholesterol, which eventually causes that non-rest-inducing heart attack.

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

Psalms 1:1‭-‬3 NKJV

Jy Het Kom Kuier!

Ek onthou dit goed – jou oë het geblink soos twee kraletjies, en jou modderbruin veertjies het deur die druppeltjies mis gefladder – mis wat die koue Augustus son hard na die hemel toe probeer trek. Jou donker kloutjies het saggies – soos klein wurmpies – aan die vaagweg-bekende murasie teen die dak geknyp.

Jy was by die regte adres, maar jou huis het ongelukkig in die donker wolk na jou seisoenale wedervaart verbrokkel – die konstante kners tussen somer se droogte en die damp van die koue atlantiese waters het jou konstellasie van vleiland spoegsels kom verswak. En toe jou blinkvlerk teenstaanders met hul bloeddorstige snawels jou vere kussings kom verniel, het jou modderhuis sy laaste asem uitgeblaas. Dit was ‘n saak van treur – selfs die wit wolf se nat neusie het geklink of dit snik soos hy deur die stukkende donsies en klonte snuffel.

Ek’t jou huis darem op geborsel en gesaai in ons plante in – hulle kon doen met meer van ‘n huis soos joune.

Jou vere kussings en die murasie.

Terwyl jy weg was het daar ‘n koerende pokkel kom nes vat tussen die hoë kratte en struikelende lug-plante. Ons het hom vinnig gedoop – Sarel. Ons duif; die een wat alewig geterroriseer word deur ons wit wolfie.

Sarel onder sy (vorige) huis.

Sarel het op die ou end vrou gevang (die uwe Sandra) – julle geveerdes laat dit nogal maklik voorkom. Dis iets waaroor ons gemengde gevoelens gehad het – ons was bly vir hom, maar die kas onder hulle nes moes waai (p.s. ons verkies loshande julle boumateriaal, hulle s’n het net bestaan uit tweedehandse insekte…).

Die wit wolf besig om ‘n onskuldige langbeen ding te terroriseer.

Die skuif was maar net-net betyds. Na ‘n paar uur se sinnelose fladder teen die dak en muur vas, het hul besluit om nes te maak in ons potplant, waarin Sandra twee dae later geboorte geskenk het aan twee, gesonde, spierwit eiers.

Siestog, ek moes die plant skuif sodat Sarel nie nat reën nie (ek sien nie baie vir Sandra nie, sy speel goed wegkruipertjie).

Nou is ons in reikhalsende afwagting vir die tweeling om uit hul gladde huisies te breek!

Die Tweeling (en so bietjie tweedehandse insekte).

In elk geval, dankie vir die kuier, meneer Swaeltjie. Net deur te wees wie jy geskape is om te wees het jy vir God die geleentheid gegee om my gees te help met opstaan vanuit my verbrokkelde aardkors (as die wêreld hard rondom jou ploegskaar draai dan mis mens hoe die meteoriete jou dag na dag tref). Darem het Hy aan die einde van hierdie brief se skryf ‘n reënboog in die hemele kom uit span om die meteoriete te help keer.

Warm groete,
Jou vriendelike waarnemer

Die meteoriet-afkerende reënboë.

Rus

rus vir die bedorwe bene
waaruit die murg daagliks droog
rus vir die ou sagte stene
waarmee bouers aanhou sloof

rus vir die knakkende knieë 
wat heeldag pynlik knaag
rus vir die gestremde sleë
wat eindeloos sal bly skaaf

rus vir die soekende saailand
wat jaar na jaar bly warrel
rus vir die hulpelose hand
wat rusteloos skommel en skarrel

rus vir die gestreepte sterre
wat heelnag brandend gly
rus vir die skellende skêre
wat stomptand aanhou sny

rus vir dié met veelvoudige vrees
verby wie U stem bly vloei
rus vir dié met vyandige vlees
wat alewig teen dit stoei

O Vader! 

ek bid U rus vir elk in dié gehoor
sodat ons saam U kan beweeg
ek bid dat ons U fluisterstem sal hoor
en vandag weer ‘n keer sal leef

In His Footsteps

For long enough
I’ve let my flesh
lead me astray

For long enough
I’ve let my comfort
keep me at bay

There are plenty
sons and daughters
who do not sleep
who do not eat

Yes there are plenty
widows and orphans
who need you and me
and the love we bring

So ask Him
for greater vision
for daily bread

Yes ask Him
to make practical 
to make it magical

Offer lavishly your praise
enjoy His presence
His fount of love

Dance foolishly before him
where his joy sustains you
His grace brings you rest

And seek Him
in all things
let Him be found

And seek Him
He will reveal Himself
oh make a joyful sound

So follow in His footsteps
where there is light
and He brings you peace.

Binnewaak / Inward Gaze

Binnewaak

suutjies wriemel kleine baba
se naeltjies teen haar buik, 
        terwyl haar oë weg gluur
        na die alledaagse stryd.
sy ogies traan onwetend, 
sy neus se snorkies kruip –
        maar haar ore stomp hul af;
        hordes ander kwale fluit.
“vergeet my nie, o skepper! 
dit is my hart se pleit.”
        haar kop kap klippe;
        sy probeer die dood ontwyk. 
“ek’s saam met jou vir ewig,
in jou hart gaan ek bly sluip.”
       begin tog vinnig binne waak
       en sien lewe daarso wyk!
    Ek wens ek kon nog meer sê,
    maar jy moet dit self begryp;
    ons het een voet binne tyd,
    en ‘n ander in die ewigheid.

Inward Gaze

the tiny baby softly fondles
his nails against her belly,
        while her eyes stare away
        towards the everyday struggle.
his eyes tear unbeknownst,
his snores are cutesy-crawly –
        but her ears keep themselves blunt;
        hordes of other ailments whistle.
“don’t forget me, oh creator!
this is my heart’s plea.”
        her head is crushing stones;
        death’s what she’s trying to evade.
“I am with you forever,
in your heart I’ll always be.”
        please quickly shift your gaze inward       
        and find life living there!
    I wish I could say more,
    but you yourself will have to perceive;
    we have one foot within time,
    and another in eternity.

Instanity

Crippled by the crawlies in my lettered little liason of distraught distractions, I most seldomly take the bouncy backseat instead of the thorough train of thoughtfulness – it has gone on for quite a whole while now, you see, and it has left my brain viciously vegetative when it comes to connecting the nosy little neurons between it and my hungry heart, which now lay pooped and pale from a lavish lack of loving.

Where my thinking was always rocking a steadfast slice of solid sanity, it seems to have crumbled to dainty dribbles of instant intricacies that entertain the soul but spit out the spirit onto a hot plate of soulish sands to shrivel and fry. Oh, where have my plush pools of lengthy long-sufferable concentration gone!? How do I jump off this wave-woven ship of instanities to an established island where I can blissfully bind anchor to at least some solid matter of heart – or a spoke of spirit filled sand?

It seems I, and perhaps you too, require a good gasoline-like drench in a zone that some heartily hail distraction free. Although, I urge us both an impeccably important note; similar to when the sweet nicotine-like nectar of coffee’s caffeine is dropped and it results in roaring rumbles of temporary headache, dropping the yodelling yarns and flickering prawns – really any dreary distraction – will likely result in a bristling boredom that will come running and screaming with a bullish butcher’s knife (and a softly cracking knee), making your mind reek with riff-raff for days on end, but take heart! For He has overcome this world.

So then, with His sturdy strength and our commitment to commit, we’ll all battle our brothy beasts and in the process I trust our neglected neurons will gradually grow and we find ourselves colourfully communing with the King of Kings. Hopefully then, with our meticulously manicured hearts and minds, dancing in perfect peace, we will find ourselves toothfully thankful and living back in real reality.

Forgotten Forest

Oh Father, once again,
I beg, please set me free!
I’ve shackled myself to my will,
I’ve tried gaining righteousness,
by trusting my own misguided, filthy feet.
Please lead me to that forgotten forest!
Where I do nothing but be –
where You gift me with grace,
and You do the work within me.
I realize it’s about positioning,
not striving with my own might,
not just walking selfishly,
day by day using my own sight.
Not just living, putting You aside,
but being disciplined
in relying on Your might –
so that You can forge my heart
in love and truth,
and shape my character,
so that when people see me –
they see You!

Breathe

When silence reaks and the walls whisper,
breathe.
When the lights die and your instruments splinter,
breathe.
When your flowers rot and your eyes decay,
breathe.
When your nails split and your mercies fray,
breathe.
When the rocks melt and your feet sting,
breathe.
When you feel forgotten and you drown within,
breathe.
When the winds howl and your bones crack,
breathe.
When your peace is gone and you’re under attack,
breathe –
for when you breathe in tiny, hope-filled breaths,
you’re surely moving towards abundant joy and life, not death.

Om Mee te Gee

Skaamte klop wanneer die see se stilte
asemrowend reusagtig raak –
wanneer mens se hawelose hart
te veel, te swaar, skipbreuk gely het
en nie nog ‘n keer die rou rotse wil smaak nie.

Stilte sluip in wanneer jou gebroke gedagtes
en halwe handelinge só geruis opwek
dat enige suiwer, sout-smeulende seine
deur jou onwetend-wetende ore
voluit versmoor word.

Diepe-slaap kom kuier wanneer mens nie eers
meer wil probeer probeer nie –
dat die gruwe grond, vir jou droog-gehuilde oë,
na ‘n amper aantrekliker opsie bly blyk –
eerder as om jou bloeiende hart dalk bloot te stel
aan enige iets wat jou huidige toestand kan verbrand. 

Frustrasie bly darem hardboudig sit,
soos ‘n getroue oumensie op ‘n sitkamer-stoel, 
om die waarheid te onderskei; 
dat jou skreeuende gaste die swakkeres verdoof –
en dat jy weer gekonfronteer kan word met die kies van ‘n daaglikse keuse:
watter lewend- of doodmakende wil,
gaan jy vandag laat meegee.

Onvoorwaardelik

Een ding is kruisend vas genael:
Sy liefde is absoluut onvoorwaardelik.
So die flym mes teen jou verlore hart,
en die kokende klip teen jou kwaadaardige kop,
kan jy maar terug na die genadige grond toe smyt.

Laat jou daaglikse doene en late dan nuut
hierdie alomteenwoordige waarheid weerspieël.
Draai jou huidiglik-kronkelende paaie,
En swaai jou deurmekaargekrapte standaarde –
Jy is ‘n onvoorwaardelik-geliefde kind van ‘n almagtige, herskeppende God.