Imagine with me a hike through terrain similar to the Badlands. You walk up and down, almost aimlessly, through both barren land and beautiful scenery. Sometimes, you descend into a valley, only to look up and see how far you have to hike to get back home. Other times, you hike up what seems like the steepest cliff, and you see God’s amazing work for miles. You rely on the little breath you have left and the last sip of water in your bottle to make it home alive. A cool house with loved ones seems like the best place to be as your body aches more than it ever has.
Life can feel this way for me. I get tired when I am walking through a valley, and I long for more when I feel that I have no purpose. Deep down, my soul knows I am not home. God has been faithful in teaching me that He is always with me. He is constantly restoring me by providing rest, walking with me, and preparing a place for me to be when He calls me home.
As I travel the journey of this life, God has taught me to find rest in Him. I cannot work for His love because, as Romans 8:1 relates, I am no longer condemned: God has saved me by the work that Jesus has done on the cross. Each day, He gives me His power to keep walking. When I thirst, He gives me living water, like Jesus gave the woman at the well in John 4. I need simply to rest in Him and rely on Him to orchestrate what only He can do. He has set me free from my bondage to sin and gives me love to share with those around me.
As I walk through tough terrain or embrace a mountaintop experience, God is always with me, helping me. Isaiah 41:10b tells me, “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” By His strength, I am able to walk with and to love those around me. His love is the breath in me that gives me purpose.
As the hike continues, I long to be home with loved ones rather than trudging alone. This is similar to how my heart longs for more than this world can give. I long for peace, for unity, and for everlasting joy. In Romans 8:18, Paul writes, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” There is more. God has not only restored my heart now, but He is going to make all things new. He gives me blessings of peace and rest on this earth, and He is preparing a place for me in Heaven. There will be no more pain or suffering. He is walking with me on the hard path of this life, and someday, He will call me home to my heavenly dwelling place. What joy there is to cling to this hope!
To those desperate for rest and peace, come to Jesus. Let Him provide you with purpose and living water. To those of you who believe in the saving work of Jesus Christ for you, rejoice with me. God is faithful to restore. Someday, we will all be gathered in perfect unity. Praise the Lord for His saving work to restore us to Him forever.
Amy Johnson [FLBC, 2021 graduate] is a member of the Dalton Free Lutheran Parish, Dalton, Minn.