Updated: Jun 7, 2022
I really enjoy this time of year. The warmer weather seems to slow everyone and everything down. We collectively decide to relax. One of my favorite ways to relax in the summer is to stretch out on a lawn chair by a pool. If I get too hot, I get in the pool to cool down. Just sitting there with nothing to do is so relaxing. However, I'm starting to learn that relaxation isn't only available to me beside a pool. I can relax internally all of the time if I learn to trust God.
Listen to Jesus' teaching found here in Mark 4:26-33:
“This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
This teaching comes right before the calming of the storm also recorded in Mark 4. That's not an accident. The two concepts are related. What Jesus is teaching about the corn and the mustard seed is that spiritual growth happens by God's power. In the first parable, the man who watches the corn grow has no idea how it works. The growth happens even while he is sleeping. When we learn to trust that God is always at work helping us to grow spiritually, we can relax. Our growth is not dependent on how much we do. It is dependent on how much we trust. In fact, it is precisely when we let go of trying to make ourselves grow spiritually that we begin to grow.
It takes a while for this concept to sink in. The disciples certainly didn't get it right away. That's why they still panicked when the storm hit, while Jesus rested peacefully in the back of the boat. He stayed relaxed through it all. The disciples immediately took action, but all to no avail. The one action they could have done first, they did last. Turning to Jesus. Sound familiar? How many times do we wait until we have exhausted every other possibility to turn to Jesus? We are so certain that we must save ourselves. But strong faith is turning to Jesus first. Then if he leads you to bail water, you take action. Weak faith is turning to Jesus last. But weak faith is still enough for God. The disciples are still saved, even in their weak faith.
When you face anything that disturbs you this week, turn to Jesus first. Relax. Let it go. Trust. And then you will see clearly what needs to be done. God is using everything that happens to you to help you grow. To help you find peace and joy. Your part is to trust that growth. Trust that God is at work. Trust that the tiny mustard seed will one day grow to a large garden plant. You don't have to understand exactly how it works. But joy comes when we learn to relax and trust God.
I would invite you this week to let go of whatever is bothering you. Turn to Jesus first. Trust. Then when your heart is calm and your mind is clear, you will know what to do. The more you see God at work helping you grow, the more you will be able to relax.
May you trust God and relax this week.