“You will find rest for your souls” . . . In a week (a month, a year . . . ) that has held much burden, we are grateful to have the gift of rest. Friday morning Scott and I will head out for Semliki Safari Lodge, a luxury tented camp of the wealthy colonial genre improbably located in the savannah around Lake Albert within the boundaries of Bundibugyo District. It is about two hours’ drive from our home. The managers have volunteered in some public health initiatives in their area which allowed us to connect, and they graciously invited us to come for a night. This will be the third (or fourth?) year we’ve been able to take this little break, and we really look forward to it, being away from patients and responsibility, soaking in the beauty of Africa with all the harsh reality smoothed out. Even God rested on the Sabbath, how much more we need to do so. Last night I finally got a shower and pajamas and just about had dinner ready when Jonah came to consult on a newborn baby. I knew he really wished (though he wouldn’t say it) that I’d come back to the hospital, but I was so tired and felt that I needed to care for my family (and truthfully myself too) instead, so I told him what should be done. I felt a bit guilty for not going myself, and somehow I just knew that this morning I’d find that the baby had died. It had. Probably my presence would not have made a difference, but most people don’t have to face death as a consequence of resting . . . So that experience both leaves me more ready and eager for a real break, and aware of the cost of resting too. The kids are staying home here with Scott Ickes, who finishes his one-year term next week, so it’s a farewell party of sorts. We don’t leave them often, or lightly, though now that Jonah is around that is not quite so scary, but sometimes I realize there is no 911, no ER, and anything can happen. But anything can happen every day, and usually does, whether we’re here or not.
Though the time is not long, only about 36 hours, God can meet us in that space. We’re praying for true rest, which is more than just a break from work, the kind of rest that lays down all burdens but the yoke of Jesus, that hears only His voice calling our names, the kind we can enter into together and emerge from strengthened for the next stretch.