Before summer rolls around, I already have it penciled in to pay the midwest a happy visit. My parents own a quaint cabin situated on a lake in northern Wisconsin, and by every stretch of the imagination, it’s my own little slice of “heaven on earth”. I’ve been going there literally all my life. My grandparents bought the small fixer upper and brought it to life before I was born. Now my parents own it, keeping the tradition of summer lake vacations alive. Down through the years this place has been sweet and soothing in its familiarity, rich in its memories with family and childhood friends, and a refreshing reprieve from the storms in my life. I’ve tasted deep soul refreshment there, as well as the simple pleasures of lake smells and boat rides and Friday night fish frys.
This year’s lake time, just shy of a week ago, wasn’t what I thought it would be, or rather what I hoped it would be spiritually and emotionally. I was longing to sit at the end of the pier and dip my toes in the water, but even more so to plunge my soul into God’s refreshing waters. I wanted something akin to a crescendo, something soul-stirring and vibrant, but what I experienced was more like a pause. It felt void of meaning, and yet I doubt it was entirely… after all, a pause in the song creates something that notes or chords cannot, it paves the way for something. It suspends things and you breathe. Then something new is ushered in. I guess I took a breath and a break at the lake.
Pauses are ok. They are more than ok in life and with God. It’s good to catch your breath. It’s good to play and enjoy the simple pleasures that He has created and wants us to enjoy. Life is full of labor, and hopefully some time to enjoy the rewards of that labor- this is from God just as much as a deeply spiritual encounter. In looking back I realized I can simply thank Him and receive from His hand what His grace gives at all times. There is value in the pause, in catching one’s breath, in slowing down, in the enjoyment of simple pleasures, in steady and sometimes barely noticeable growth as we abide.
“What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. …I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:9-13
When I returned home I also thought about how He had never left me. I didn’t miss Him in the pause of my life song. He was there all along. He was there in the break, in the breaths taken, in the small enjoyments, in all that was happening. The following day after work I felt a stirring to come away, so I drove off to a lake in the mountains nearby and walked the shoreline. Finally there my soul soaked in His needed refreshment as I poured out my heart and heard his voice. It came in calming waves like those that lapped up against the shore, reminding me of His constant love and patience and kindness. He came in a way that I needed, when I needed it. His timing is good. His ways with my soul can be trusted. He might not always come like I want Him to or when, but He will. He’s got His own. And to know that as I seek Him I am firmly held, to sense this ever so slightly in my spirit- there is no better thing, for that is enough sometimes. He is enough in everything and through everything.
As this summer season is winding down and fall is fastly approaching, I’m believing He is with me and enough in this transition of slow pause and entering into the new. He is closer and more invested in our lives than we can possibly fathom. His love is deeper, stronger, and more refreshing than we can imagine. He is with me and He is with you too. Seek and find Him just where you are, and choose to embrace the season and times He provides for you. Embrace it from Him and let Him guide you into a greater understanding of His mind and heart. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven,” Ecclesiastes 3:1.