Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 17, 2017

it’s not God plus

Once, in talking to a friend who climbs mountains (can you imagine?!), I asked him the ultimate question.

“Are you going to climb Mt. Everest?”

He climbs mountains to raise money for disadvantaged children, and Everest had no special allure. I understood why when he told me that it costs $150,000 to make the climb, and 25% of the climbers die. Now, I have no idea how accurate those statistics are, but those numbers were staggering to me. Why would anyone risk death and spending a fortune to climb a mountain? There are just a select few with the courage and means to test the mountain.

Correspondingly, I have repeatedly ended up at the same passage of Scripture in different scenarios over the last several weeks.  The passage is one that I might also characterize as a place rarely visited/tested. It is not a land with grass or snow and mountain peaks. It does not cost real money, nor does it present the risk of physical death. I believe it to be a place available to all who know God, through Christ as their Savior, and all who venture there find it to be filled with comfort and security … even in the most trying of times.  Where/what is this place, and why would it be so rarely visited?

When you hear these verses quoted or mentioned, I would venture you find it easy to say, “Yes, I believe them.” However, is it a place that you visit often? Look at the passage in two of my favorite Bible versions.

Psalm 62:1-2
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (NIV)

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. (ESV)

David was battling through a rough patch in his life. Some even feel it could have been after his son Absalom tried to take his throne from him (imagine that pain).  Humanly speaking, he was in a desperate place. However, when you read the verses above, there is a sense of safety, a voice of confidence and firm resolve. He had no doubt that God was the solid rock under his feet and a fortress to protect him. He found his rest in God alone.  It was not God plus his own strength, or God plus his army … it was God alone. David certainly had his failures, but at this specific moment he realized something that every Christ-follower should internalize; peace (true peace, God’s peace) comes when we learn to stop depending on ourselves and trusting Him for every (and I mean, every) area of our lives. Now you see why I view these verses as a place rarely visited. I believe we all want more of God plus <fill in the blank>, rather than God alone.

David’s words ring true. In meditating on these verses, I find they slow me down, cause me to release issues to Him and generally gain a sense of spiritual balance. Charles Swindoll, in his book entitled Jesus: The Greatest Life of All, caught the essence of what I am trying to convey. “To enter our Sabbath rest, we must put an end to self-reliance-trusting our own abilities to overcome difficulties, rise above challenges, escape tragedies, or achieve personal greatness. We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available.”  Well said!

My soul finds rest in God alone.  It is a place of safety, comfort and protection. Would you consider visiting that place for even just a day? It takes incredible courage to climb Everest to gain what is essentially a temporal thrill. Finding rest in God alone is more than a momentary thrill; it’s a place of lasting peace.  Like David, you and I will fail at finding our rest (in God alone) often, but we can visit and re-visit this place of God’s design.

Since God keeps bringing this passage to my attention, I keep writing about it. It is a place I need to continually re-visit and maybe, just maybe, you do too. Find your rest in God alone this week.

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