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In the ancient world, parents told their kids the story of creation. It goes something like this. There was a water god known as the leviathan came into the universe, reached up to the top of the universe and popped the cork. All the rainwater poured in and filled up the universe with water. Sort of like my basement after a rainstorm. Needless to say, it was a mess. So the gods in the universe meet to discuss how to fix the problem. They turned to the sun god and said, “You are powerful; do something about this.” But the sun god said, “All of this water has put out my flame. I have no power to fix this.” Then the gods turned the fertility god and said, “You are magical and you can make things pop into existence. Do something about this.” But the fertility god said, “I need sunlight, I need photosynthesis to grow life. I have no power in this situation.” So the gods turned to the wind god and the lightning-bolt gods and they were also powerless. So finally, the gods decided to hire a rent-a-god that was powerful enough to put the universe in order. They told the rent-a-god: “If you can fix this mess, create light, and divide the land from the sea and make living things, you will be the god above all other gods. You will rule over all of us.” So the rent-a-god came and put the universe in its proper order. And this is the story the parents told their kids when they asked how the universe was created.
When the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River and entered into the Promised Land they met many nations that occupied the land. These nations worshiped different gods. One nation told the Israelties, “We worship the lightning-bolt god because he is swift and powerful.” Another nation said, “We worship the sun god because of his importance and power in the universe.” Another said, “We worship the fertility god because we have to grow things to eat.” Then the nations asked the Israelites who they worshiped and they responded, “We worship the one, true God, Yahweh.” They asked, “Who is Yahweh?” The Israelites answered, “He is the God who is above all gods, He is the creator of the universe: the rent-a-god.” Then the Israelites told them the seven-day creation story of how God created the universe. Many people began to worship the one true God. Not because God was powerful and able to fix the mess, but because God rested on the seventh day. That means God wanted to be with his people, that God cared for them. None of the other gods did this.
Remember in the Gospel, Jesus took His disciples to a deserted place to rest. Do you remember what happened when Jesus decided to rest in the wilderness? All the miserables when out to Him. All those who were blind, lame, the ill, and the possessed went out to meet the “resting” Jesus in the desert. And Jesus cured them all. That is what happens when God rests. He is available to care for his people.
One time I went home on my day off to help mom with the garden. The plan was to take my mother to the nursery, to get plants for the garden, weed, plant the flowers, edge, and mulch. And I was going to do it all in one day. So I was all charged up to complete my dream garden. I bolted in the door and said, “Mom, let’s go, we have a busy day.” My mother and father were in the living room, and said to me, “Peter, come in and rest for a minute.” I said, “Alright, five minutes.” Now you know what happens when you sit on a La-Z-Boy, put your feet up, and lean back when you are tired after being on-call at the hospital all weekend. I do not know how long I was asleep, one hour, maybe two. When I woke up, I said, “What time is it?” My mother looked said, “I knew you were tired.”
I got up and mom and I took off. We had lunch at the clam shack, stopped at the beach, picked up a plant at the nursery, and stopped off at the Sunday School for an ice cream. At the end of the day I looked at the garden and it was not the garden I had in mind. It was not the perfect garden. There were weeds all over. It was a mess, but I had a really nice time all day with Mom.
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When we look around at God’s garden, the universe, it is like my garden. It is not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. There will be a time in our life when we are going to be one of those miserables that are ailed with suffering. Whenever that happens, all we need to know is that God rests. We just have to go out to meet Him.