It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming: A Reflection on the REST Retreat

Three weeks ago it was all I could think about as I drove to San Angelo Texas to a wedding rehearsal. It had already been a long week, planning, writing, counseling, teaching, and that was just my “Dad” duties. Work was more of the same, with the added stress of writing a wedding script and finishing last minute plans for the Rest Retreat. Four hours into our drive Tyce was in the back seat mustering all the patience a 21-month old could after hours in the car, Jill lay in the front seat trying to take a nap, and as I stared down a barren stretch of Hwy 67 all I could think about was its Friday but Sunday’s coming, and although I am publicly hopeful, I am privately anxious of the outcome.

Rest4You would think I would be focused on the task at hand, driving, or maybe even the evening wedding rehearsal, or maybe even Saturday’s wedding, but alas all I could think about was the all-church retreat. After all, I was fully in control of my Friday and Saturday responsibilities, but Sunday was going to be a different story. Would people be disappointed by the buses? Would some people get lost? Would the weather cooperate with our plans or the camp have a major facility issue? What was the contingency plan? Every ounce of data coming back to me from the weather reports, to the facilities construction, to people not paying their fees and canceling and others getting sick, to the last minute changes was signaling a high potential for a major problem that would cause the hoped rest, to be stressed. But other than thinking and stressing there was nothing I could do.

Rest2Sunday came and went. So did Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and all without a major problem. In fact, all came and went with major success, most of which was unplanned. People got to know each other better, relationships that did not exist, were born. People rested, played, connected and praised God for all that He had blessed them with. I watched day after day as the church showed me how it could truly be the family of God. How people took care of each others’ kids, how people encouraged and broke bread together. I watched as people took time to be with each other and how they used potential problems, tornado warnings and hail, for opportunities to grow closer. People let go of their normal control and pace of life and went with the flow that was given to them. Memories were made and lives were changed. People who didn’t even know each others’ names walked away with deep friendships.

Rest3Other surprises of the week came from the unexpected amount of participation in the limited number of Group activities that were planned. I watched our churches’ elders put on harnesses and walk on cliff edges, leading through their encouragement those who went with them. I saw young and old jump from platforms down zip lines, climb through tunnels, and repel down steep cliff faces. The most amazing thing was watching the adults spend time with the teens and kids, in the game rooms, gaga ball pits, and out exploring and fishing. God truly blessed my family’s life and showed us the Joy that comes from taking time out of our busy lives and spending it with God’s Family, our eternal family.

As I have reflected on this experience with others I discovered that most people had their moments of fear about going on this Retreat. Most doubted that it would be a good and restful experience. Most wrestled through the weekend wondering about the bus ride, the lack of cell phone service, the accommodations and the food. But faithfully, they fought through their anxiety held through to their commitment and discovered what being apart God’s family can joyfully be about. It may only be Friday today, but the Son Day is coming, and when the Lord returns I hope that you have become part of the family, the only family, God’s Family.


Other Posts You Might Like:

שֵׁ֫מַע - Andres Badillo

Productivity and REST - Beau Davis

“That They May Be One” - Ross Thomson

Waiting is a Bold Word / Esperar es una Palabra Bold - Andres Badillo

The Big Question…”What On Earth Am I Here For?” - Ross Thomson



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