“God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness he called ‘night.’ And there was evening, and there was morning…” Genesis 1:5 (NIV)
I was reading my Bible one day and noticed a huge “mistake” in scripture. Everyone knows that morning comes first, and then evening follows. Right? But there it was in black and white. Genesis 1:5 read “and there was evening, and there was morning.”
Of course, it was no mistake. God started with evening — a time of rest — and a day’s productivity resulted.
We live in a culture where rest is often viewed in a negative light. When we work, we work hard. When we play, we play hard. We know how to fill our time with e-mail, activities, carpool, cleaning, aerobics, and our list of tasks. But do we know how to rest?
Nineteen years ago at the ripe age of 32 I was diagnosed with cancer. When I found out, I blurted, “I don’t have time for cancer!” But cancer didn’t consult my schedule. My life changed as I put aside a lot of things I once thought were absolutely vital as I went through chemo, surgery, and radiation.
One beautiful result that emerged from that difficult time was a new list of priorities. I learned how to climb between the sheets and put aside my worries. To rest my body and my mind. To slow down when life became crazy and to weigh what was important, and what was not. Before long I began to see evening as the first part of my day. From rest, sprang morning; I had earned a good day’s work.
It’s a concept that changed my life. Not just physically, but also spiritually. Recently I had two speaking events sandwiched together. As the date approached, my time with my Heavenly Father became “evening.” I prepared, but spiritually rested as I communed with God. Once I arrived in the city where I was to speak, I closed the door of my hotel room and listened to the heart of my Father instead of going over my notes. Out of rest, sprang true ministry. I was refreshed and filled by His presence, instead of my efforts.
How often do we run out of steam because we are out of balance? I wish I could say I was forever cured. But I’m not. There are times that I have to slow it down and reconsider my priorities all over again. And if physical rest or spiritual rest has been pushed to last place, I have to put it all on the table and let The Boss help me sort through it so I can put “evening” back where it belongs.
Dear Lord, when I push You to last place, I miss out on hearing Your voice. When I keep going until I drop, I get all tangled up in my to-do list. I know that life is busy, but help me to discern between what is important, and what is not. Reorganize my life, and reveal true rest that only comes from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.