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Driving along a winding country road, the fields rolled out before me, russet and golden in the crisp early winter air. Mist rose from the earth as the sun burned off the heavy morning frost. The crops were in the barn, the silos were full, and the farmer’s equipment had gone silent. How different from the late summer, when the corn towered high, crowding eagerly along the roadway, waving its long green leaves at my passing. How different from the noisy commotion of the harvest, when roaring combines churned through rows of dusky cobs, pouring their fat kernels into glistening mounds of gold. Now the silent stubble poked like ragged teeth from uneven earth, catching desiccated oak leaves that blew across the barren fields.

And yet, despite the harbingers of the bleak cold season descending, a warmth flooded my soul. …behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. - Zechariah 1:11. A season of rest is upon us. The earth rests from its labors. The creatures retreat to their burrows and nests, fattened and ready for a stuporous sleep. Deer nestle against a windbreak of briers and downed limbs, indifferent to impending snowfall. The worms dig deep into the loam; pillbugs curl into impervious coils under damp logs; skunks lumber about for a last meal.

In this bone-chilling season, the dead vegetation softens and rots, feeding the earth. Birds pick away at skeletal branches, stripping off the remaining withered bitter fruit and berries. The rain and snow seep deep into the soil, replenishing the aquifers and dispersing essential elements throughout the ground. The frozen earth cradles each seed in its icy hand, to preserve it until the growing season.

Even among the most critical times, God always provided rest for his people. He gives us rest from our work on the Sabbath. He made the land rest from war after Joshua went into the Promised Land. He gave the nation of Israel rest after their enemies were defeated. The Temple was to be a place of rest for the Ark. Elijah fled into the wilderness after his dealings with Jezebel and the prophets of Baal, and the Lord gave him rest and sustenance. God promises that believers shall enter into his rest. Rest is as essential a part of life as activity.

After a time of strife, a time of trials, a time of sorrow, a time of war, a time of hard labor and unending struggle, a time of fear and doubting and anguish, after a time of victory and celebration and overcoming … God provides a time of rest. And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve. - Isaiah 14:3

It is a time for rest and restoration. Rest and refreshment. Rest and rebuilding. Rest and revival. A rest from our busy days. A rest from our daily worries, our fickle emotions, and even from our own traitorous thoughts. A rest for our treacherous bodies, our stressed-out minds and our weary souls. A time to burrow into the love of our families, to dig deeply into the comfort in the Word, to wrap ourselves in the warmth of His love. 

Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from fallingPsalm 116:7

And my people shall dwell in peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. - Isaiah 32:18

Thank you Patricia Stegman!!
It has been a joy to know you and have you as such a dear Christian friend. You have been by our side through many joys and many sorrows- we love you and thank you for the encouragement you have been to our family!           Your sister in Christ, Heidi 



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