7th Inning Stretch: Recline on your black inner tube

Those who read my last column might remember my advice to “find rest in the peace that God gladly offers and in who He has made you to be.” Since I wrote that, I have been wracking my brain for a way to try and expand on this idea and think about how we as Christians can simply rest in the Lord. Speaking from personal experience, it seems that the harder I try, the farther I get from finding that rest. As I prayed about what in the world I would write about this time around, God brought to mind a simple yet fitting example of what resting in Him can look like.

For my 20th birthday this summer, some of my good friends and I went tubing at Salt River in Mesa, AZ, just two hours from our home in Tucson. We tied our seven tubes in a circle, with one in the middle for our cooler. It was a beautifully sunny day and surprisingly not too hot, and we were armed with cans of spray-on, water-resistant sunscreen. The water was icy cold at first, but we soon got used to it and off we went, floating lazy-river style.

Letting the current take us as it wanted was not a huge problem. Sure, we ran into some branches that jutted off of the gnarled trees on the riverbank, and the shallow parts had large rocks that scraped us. Sara lost her flip flops in the water, and Chris fell into the river and had to half-swim, half-run to catch up to us. It was definitely a bumpy ride now and then, but the truth is, the current did its job in keeping us on course. All we had to do was recline on our black inner tubes. It was fairly reminiscent of the country summer hit “Pontoon” by Little Big Town. (It’s true, the title of this column is straight out of a country song).

I found it to be the most relaxing thing not having control. I knew that as long as I was secured in the tube, everything was okay. I could focus on taking in the sun and having a good time. In life, however, most of us do not find it relaxing to not have control. In fact, we freak out, stress out and do everything in our power to take charge, steer things in the way we think they ought to go. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, but letting go is hard.

I still don’t have a reassuring answer as to how we find rest in simply letting the Father be our “current” that leads us and in trusting the Holy Spirit to be our “black inner tube” that comforts and carries us through the difficulties of life. I suppose that there will always be that struggle when we run into those branches or get scratched by those rocks. It’s in these times that I find comfort in Jeremiah 29:11. However, I want to expand on verses 12 and 13, which are often overlooked. They hold insight and advice about how we can find rest: “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Along with acknowledging that God has a plan and that He is sovereign, we must seek Him out as well. In seeking Him, we can know that we are trusting Him. So while you’re floating down that river, don’t forget that Jesus Christ is sitting right next to you, waiting for you to seek Him.

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