“And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks[a] of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.”
It is Genesis 18 and Abraham and Sarah are old, physically past the point where they can have a child. Here we find Abraham sitting outside his tent in the heat of the day by the oaks of Mamre, resting.
We can imagine the weariness that may have engulfed Abraham. The sweat that may have trickled down his back as he found shade from those oaks. Maybe he closed his eyes for a moment and contemplated his life, a sigh escaped from the soul weariness he fought. Was hope a glimmer? Did he wonder when God would fulfill the promise of a son, and with the age of himself and Sarah was it was even possible anymore?
I wonder if Sarah’s hope was even less than Abraham’s as she watched her body change. Had she resigned herself to never bearing a child, to never being a mother? After all those years hope’s voice might have felt mocking, God’s promise distant and unattainable.
Then 3 men showed up and Abraham sprung into action. When did he realize the company he was a part of? That the Lord was visiting him this hot afternoon? I am not sure, but what we do know is that with these visitors came renewed hope.
“They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” 10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.”“
Recently a pastor spoke on Jesus being the bread of life, that he is the satisfier and the sustainer. In John 4:34 Jesus says that his food is to do the will of “he who sent me”. When I think of a resting place I think of a longing for satisfaction and peace. A fullness of the soul.
There are promises that we have been given by God. Maybe you have one hidden deep in your heart and today you find yourself relating to Sarah. For a long time you have had hope, you have dreamed of the ways the promise may come to fruition. As time passes hope and the promise has dimmed, seemingly out of reach.
This is the last piece in the Homeless series. When we began I had an urge to communicate that home isn’t the place we lay our heads as much as a sense of peace, contentment, belonging, satisfaction and purpose. And that these are things that we can bring with us, we are all carriers of this thing called home to those who feel alone, lost, discontent and dissatisfied. To be honest this Homeless series has been a journey for me and this last piece the most difficult to write.
In the last four years I have seen every place that I had considered to be a secure place of belonging and home shaken beneath my feet. Called into new and unfamiliar communities, hurt by those who should love, surprised by the death of a child and held hostage by cancer affecting those closest to me. My security in the venues of community, children, family, health were all shaken and I have felt the loss of them and with their vacancy an ache that I had been trying to fill was so wide and empty.
I have learned that we can have a resting place no matter the circumstances that life brings our way. That true rest has very little to do with our home, community, financial situation, job or even impact on the world. True rest has everything to do with finding contentment in the will of God, allowing his will and his way to be our food and satisfaction. It is letting go and leaning into his faithfulness and allowing him to work freely in our lives. The striving and worrying has got be let go of, our God can be trusted and is at work.
Abraham and Sarah left on a grand adventure following God. They were given an amazing promise, a son who would be made into a great nation. The way was hard, mistakes were made, life happened and the promise still unrealized. Is there truly a resting place in this weary world I ask myself, did they question too?
I believe the answer is yes. True rest can be found and often is only realized when all the other places we tend to go to have turned up empty. True rest is not contingent on physical circumstances of a full bank account, the perfect job or home, the right family or community. True rest comes in the form of leaning in to the plan of a faithful God. It is saying your will, your way God is my satisfaction – whatever it may be.
Sarah and Abraham didn’t stay at the Oaks of Mamre they continued to nomadically move on but I believe that they learned the secret to rest as their hope was renewed and a promised son was born. We have a privilege that they did not have and that is the benefit of their story. We can count on the same God that delivered on his promise to them to be faithful to deliver on his promises to us. And we see that God is faithful to his promise, his plan and his way. Abraham and Sarah were not perfect, they made many misjudgements and mistakes but God still followed through on his word.
As we end our time together I pray that you will find your resting place in the safe space that is the will, plan and promise of a Faithful God. This is where true satisfying rest is found for our souls.
Read the Rest of the Homeless Series and learn how you can live in and bring Home to those around you no matter what circumstances life brings.