Each year, when my family gathers in Michigan for our family reunion, my personal family does a lot of driving. I do a lot of driving. This year we traveled twelve hours to get there. That's a long trip. But we break things up by stopping along the Lake Michigan shoreline for a picnic lunch and in Manistique to stretch our legs in the sand. It's good to take a break once in a while. It's weird but, by taking more time to stop along the way, it doesn't make the trip seem so long. Does that make sense?
When I was younger and living in a suburb of Milwaukee, the trip my family took to the farm each year was actually shorter than the drive we take now but it seemed longer. WAY longer! We drove through Chicago. Back then Chicago wasn't very pretty. There were pot holes everywhere. Roads were ALWAYS "under construction." Everything just seemed . . . dirty.
These days a drive through Chi-town can actually be very nice. The newer, wider roads are wonderful and, if you have an I-pass, you don't even have to stop at any of the half dozen toll booths to pay your way out of town. Now we just drive right through and automatically have the fees for driving on the Illinois tollway sucked right out of our bank account. Nice! I guess.
Maybe that's why the trip seems so long when we travel "the south way." We seldom get out of the car. But, for all the ways that have been provided for us to "keep on truckin'" they still haven't figured out how to solve a few things that makes us want to stop - our need to eat and our need . . . to pee!
I am grateful for the Hinsdale Oasis, our families favorite potty stop on our way to visit my sister in Battle Creek. I'm not sure what we'd do without it. There must be other attractions in Hinsdale, Illinois besides that "oasis in the desert" but for us it is "the city where we pee!"
Every long journey needs to be broken up with a rest stop - a time to relax, an opportunity to get some food for ourselves and rid ourselves of the garbage we seem to always collect along the way. Our time with God serves the same function as an oasis. He provides in Himself a way for us to rest and to find peace. He feeds us. He helps us get rid of the garbage in our lives. He can even fill up our spiritual gas tank when we are running on empty.
When I have had enough of this world, all its hustle and bustle, all the pain and suffering, the violence, the evil that seems to invade every aspect of our lives, I like to "pull off the road" and take a break. I pick up my Bible and I read, or I put on my headphones and I listen to some worship music or to a sermon from one of my favorite pastors. I recharge my spiritual batteries by stopping at an oasis known as . . . Jesus.
Even Jesus took a break from his ministry now and again. He would often go off to a quiet place and pray. Prayer was the oasis of choice for Jesus. The following is one of his prayers. It ends with some great advice we all should take advantage of, especially when the journey gets long and we find ourselves getting weary. We should come to Jesus with our concerns and with our troubles and lay them at His feet. He has promised us that we will find rest for our weary souls. And we don't even have to pay a toll!
“At that time Jesus declared, "25 I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30
Come To Me - Aaron Shust