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A Time to Rest

Portrait of Yael Eckstein

February 13, 2014

Shalom,

This past week, I got the flu. For five days, I had a high fever and was forced to lie in bed. As I stared at the ceiling and massaged my throbbing temples, my ever-growing to-do list continued to run through my head. I would stick the thermometer into my mouth over and over again, hoping that my fever had miraculously gone down, only to be struck by the three-digit number on the tiny screen and a horrible case of the chills. “Can’t I just get up and feel better already?” I called out to God. Gradually, over the course of those five days, his answer entered my heart – He was teaching me a lesson about the importance of taking time to rest.

Being sick is hard for me. I’m a person who hates to waste time. I look at every moment as a precious gift from God, and try to use the time that He has given me wisely. I work hard, I am a committed mother and wife, and in my free time I try to pray and study the Bible. Sitting in bed for several days focusing solely on myself not only felt unnatural, but slightly sacrilegious.

It was at one of these moments of despair that I called out to the heavens. “Lord, I don’t want to just waste my days in bed,” I said, filled with frustration. I told God what was on my mind, how I wanted to get back to work and family, and how I felt guilty just sitting in bed all day – and it was then that His ultimate wisdom filled my heart. “I know what is best, and this is a gift,” I heard Him say. “Take this time to rest, focus on yourself, and appreciate the little things in life that you are usually too busy to recognize.”

With God’s divine guidance, my heart grew quiet and I felt myself filled with His spirit. I had spent the past few days feeling sorry for myself, rather than using this time as an opportunity to rejuvenate my body and reflect on everything God has given me. Now, I opened my eyes to the blessings surrounding me, and was struck by their potency.

I walked downstairs to my front yard and sat down for a few moments. As the fresh air filled my lungs, I thanked God that I could breathe. I felt the sun beaming down on my face, and it was as if I was experiencing God’s creation anew. “Thank you, Lord, for the sun,” I whispered – maybe for the first time in my life.

Afterward, as I crawled back into my bed, I was able to accept the situation that God put me in. “Now is not a time to work, but rather a time to rest,” I reminded myself as I comfortably drifted off to sleep.

When my precious children cheerfully came and climbed in bed with me, instead of feeling angry at myself and guilty that I hadn’t been present for the past few days, I focused on enjoying the opportunity to just sit and talk with all three of them without any distractions. The simple stories, thoughts, and giggles that came out of my dear children’s mouths felt like pure light to my world.

As I’m starting to heal and get stronger, thank God, I appreciate that everything happens for a reason. I have realized that I always want to be like Queen Esther, who changed the world and stormed the king’s palace. But I’ve also learned that there is a time to rest as well, when I should just focus on myself, and that, too, is from God.

Just as we must savor the moment when God places us in a position to change the world, so too we must savor the moment when He gives us the signs that it is time to rest.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael

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