Before there was a ranch, there was nothing. Well, if you count cactus and hornet’s nests, there was something. But the potential for something beautiful, something vibrant was lacking and the resources were scarce. It was rough. Really rough. Coyote and cowhide tough. The stuff desert fathers are made of.
Our friends and family who visited the ranch in its early days forbade us from attempting life out there. From raising our kids in the middle of the desert without electricity or running water, and starting a ministry from an abandoned lot tucked out of reach. Four miles of dirt between us and the nearest convenience store.
One day, sitting on a cracked cement step, taking in the vast emptiness that we believed God had called us to, my husband Peter prayed: Lord, I need to know this is You. I need to know You are in this, because if You’re not, I will surely die.
It sounds tongue and cheek when we say it today, but it was real. The task was daunting. We had unending limitations. And it would have killed us had we gone alone.
The Lord answered—as clearly as if He had been sitting on the step and gazing out at that same desert and that same emptiness in that very moment. He said: Yes, Peter. It is Me. And everything you need is right here.
The palms we would cut. The wells we would tap. The friends we would make. The ministry He would build. Everything.
That was true then. And it is true right now. Somehow it is harder to remember here. I have forgotten what Everything means. When the comforts are easier, perhaps the answers become cloudy.
But the reality is, I don’t need to be on a vacant ranch to feel empty.
I can come to the end of myself all on my own. I can be surrounded by affluence, career momentum, hordes of people and still feel a vacancy. A heavy burden I can’t bear. As though surely, I will die if I have to go it alone. The amount of effort and pace and endurance just to keep my head above water has the potential to derail me.
The void is real. The emptiness, the lack of resources, the shortcoming of strength and perseverance, the power we give others to determine our worth, the barrenness of our day or purposelessness of our steps.
But wherever we might be, desert or crowd, the truth stands just as real.
God says, I have everything you need, and I am right here. Everything. All the resources I lack to be whole and complete. To stand tall and finish strong. To break the bonds and be a victor despite my brokenness. Despite my circumstances. To throw off my need for approval, acknowledgment, accolades and find rest, deep rest in Him.
“Adam was created on the sixth day. Clearly, then, he had no part in those first six days of work, for he came into being only at their end. God’s seventh day was, in fact, Adam’s first. Whereas God worked six days and then enjoyed his sabbath rest, Adam began his life with the sabbath; for God works before he rests, while man must first enter into God’s rest, and then alone can he work.” (Watchman Nee)
Man must first enter into God’s rest, and then alone can he work.
We have it backwards. Sunday begins the week, it doesn’t end it. Whatever your day is, Sunday or another, enter into the Sabbath first. This, my friend, is the key to the emptiness. To mine. And to yours. That we rest in Him FIRST. I know we’ve heard it and even believed it. Why then do we fail to receive it?
And here is the coolest part. “It was because God’s work of creation was truly complete that Adam’s life could begin with rest.” (Nee)
He did it all. It’s finished already. Whatever you are striving for, it’s been done. Whatever you might think is missing, it is not. This is His gift to us.
Breathe Him in. Breathe yourself out. And find today that you lack nothing.