Recently, while playing at the playground, my son fell from the slide. His full weight landed on his arm. We rushed him to the hospital where we were told his arm was broken. The doctor put a cast on his arm and sent us home. At first, my son was very proud of his new cast. However, eventually, the novelty wore off, and he was impatient to have the cast removed. His activities were encumbered and he became very irritable. I explained to him the importance of the cast. The cast stabilized the fracture in his arm, enabling new tissue to form. Without the cast, the fracture would not heal. Time passed, the bone healed, and the cast was removed. My son's arm was like new.
Fractured bones are cause for concern, but there are other fractures that cause other serious problems, fractures that tax our strength and soul. Having a child may tax a parent's strength. Along with job and household burdens, there is great responsibility in rearing a child. Add the demands other people make on one's life (especially the lives of ministers and their families) and often a parent will lose his/her cool. The guilt is tremendous and the inability to control oneself is a sure sign that something is broken internally. Like the cast that is used to heal broken bones, so the soul needs a cast. This cast is comprised of silence, quietness and time for Jesus. If a person keeps the cast on long enough and allows enough time for the healing process, he will be better able to bear greater weights in all areas of his life.
Luke 10:38-42 tells the story of Martha. She is delighted to have Jesus visit and her first priority is to see that Jesus lacks nothing. She is a good and efficient homemaker who keeps busy and in control of her household. But she lets anger well up inside her when she sees her sister sitting, doing nothing else but listening to Jesus. Here Martha is working so hard to make Jesus comfortable and Mary is just sitting at His feet. Martha's anger escalates as she thinks about Mary's unconcern for her or Jesus' comfort; after all, Mary is not a guest in the house; she should be helping Martha. Needless to say, Martha is quite surprised by Jesus' words. He does not instruct Mary to help Martha; rather, He tells Martha to stop working and sit and rest. He has wonderful things to tell her; He has food for her soul.
Like Martha, we all have tasks to accomplish. The house must be cleaned, the meetings must be scheduled, the decisions must be made. But we must not allow our assignments to fully occupy us. If we do, we become like the parable of the sower. The seed fell on fertile ground, but the thorns, namely, work, worries and problems, choked the seed and nothing grew.
The great men of the Bible came out of stillness and returned again and again. The cast of silence, quietness and time for Jesus renewed them for their earthly trials. Think of Moses. After he had slain the Egyptian, he withdrew into the desert and there grew into a man who was able to fulfill the great task of leading Israel out of Egypt. And think of John. For many years he lived in the desert in order to proclaim the first coming of Jesus. Jesus Himself withdrew into the desert for 40 days before He became involved with people. Throughout His life, Jesus took the time to withdraw from the public; He knew the importance and necessity of fellowshipping with God.
Our quiet times with God guard us from the internal fractures. We gain strength to master all the demands of home, profession and church duties. By sitting at the feet of Jesus, and listening to what He says, we can receive strength, calmness and an inner peace that will sustain us throughout this earthly life, *