R.I.P. vs RESTING in Peace

R.I.P is a declaration of death, but what if it becomes a statement – a bold stance for life.

With a child in hospice, another facing chronic pain and disability, and my dad battling stage 4 metastasized prostrate cancer, we are facing death head-on, day by day, hour by hour.

The weight is no small thing.

Heaving and straining, knees buckle, my breath is shallow and quick. This past week, in a moment of inspiration, an unexpected opportunity for retreat emerged.

So, today I am on retreat. My heart is pounding. Jesus’ invitation to “come away” (Mark 6:31) is as real now as it was back then. It beckons and directs. It echoes with David’s longing to “hurry” away(Psalm 55:6-8). Let me tell you, there was pedal to the metal my dear friends, as I pulled out of my driveway early this morning.

My ‘”place of shelter” was a grove of towering pines, a lakeside bench, and a wicker chair nestled in a window-lined hallway at Pokagon State Park in northeast Indiana. An hour from our home, the car ride allowed me to unwind and disentangle. There, in a span of 5 hours, God took me from the ache of R.I.P. to the quieting, the whisper of “Brenda, rest in peace. It is mine to give. Yours to embrace.”

To rest in peace is the hope of heaven. But, it is not bound. It is not out of reach. It is within our grasp, here, now, through storm, flood, fire and furnace, through ache, anguish, and unknown.

It is ours when the Spirit invades the consuming darkness. He comes to us with authority to comfort, to hush our racing thoughts, to breathe new life into embers He will not let die.

For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel has said, “You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence…
Isaiah 30:15a (HCSB).

R.I.P. or “rest in peace.” Which will it be?

A few quiet hours off the beaten path allows us to exchange one for the other.

 

This post was written in 2014. Here is a 2018 update: Josh is still in hospice, – a literal “walking miracle”, Joe is on solid ground after two unexpected surgeries this past August, my dad is with Jesus, and I still cherish days of resting in peace. October is my favorite month to do so. I am making plans! How about you? Can you step away for a quiet hour or two sometime soon? Seize the day!

 

Onward!

Welcome! We are a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We find it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It is a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It is an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It is adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. Psalm 29:11

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9 thoughts on “R.I.P. vs RESTING in Peace”

  1. Brenda, First of all, Psalm 29:11 is one of my favorite Bible verses. My heart ached for you when reading your article and was glad for the update. Your Dad has won the victory. Your are still in the struggle of this life but God has given you tools and Himself to help you cope. I like the idea of a place of shelter. I was told by someone to have a place of safety. My place is sitting on Jesus’ lap with His arms around me. He is telling me,” You are my child; you are mine; you are precious to me; I will take care of you; I love you.” I want to surrender all, my family, friends, situations. to God, my heavenly Father and REST IN PEACE. Thank you for your ministry. Karen

    • Karen, Thank you for writing.
      We are sheltered. We are safe.
      Held. Secure.
      And in His embrace we rest in peace.
      God’s richest blessing on your day!
      Brenda

  2. So sorry for the trials that you are experiencing, Brenda… May you sense His Spirit with you… john

    JOHN LEE Online Chaplain STUDENT SERVICES IWU- NATIONAL & GLOBAL

    INDIANA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

    • John,

      Ahhh! Yes! The Presnce of the Lord.
      Psalm 62 once moved me from literally shaking to a calm and confidence that positioned me to tackle, head on, an impossible situation.
      Thank you!
      He is what we need!
      Onward.
      Eyes on Jesus!
      Brenda

  3. So beautiful, Brenda. There are always things to do, it seems. And then….. I heard from a friend this evening. I have been praying for her as she cared for her sister with cancer. This evening her sister died. It wasn’t even a week since she went to take care of her sister. My heart grieves, but God…. Somehow I sense the peace of Jesus. Paula pain and agony in this world are over. Is she in Heaven? I don’t know, but God…. The God of the Universe, the Creator, and judge, knows. He has it all in His hands. From the hurting and frightened mom, to the frustrated and confused, to the child who can’t understand, to the best of us, to the worst…God has loved us all and is involved in each life. I praise Him.

    We are having a bit of fall here. Cooler temp and lots of rain. And I feel blessed. I don’t know why. The pain from the lymphedema has caused me to get my feet up, but God…. Brenda, He is here, with me, in spite of me, because of me. Retreat. He is “retreat”. He is the source. He is the definition. May I rest in Him as I continue with my day.

    Thank you for your words and friendship.

    • Betty,

      We are in the together. Not alone.
      Praying for each other. Encouraging each other. Blessing each other.
      Today, may we rest in peace!
      Love and prayers!
      Brenda

  4. I am trying my best to rest in peace as my 11/28 breast biopsy looms over my head. During this time of waiting, I am also trying to encourage and pray for a friend whose daughter is dying of cancer. I know God is my anchor in all the trials of Life. I also know that satan is a thief who wants to steal our joy. Please lift me up in prayer as I am praying for complete healing and expect nothing less but a favorable report after the biopsy. God bless us all!

    • Tia,

      Hope anchored!
      Eyes riveted on Jesus!
      May this be a time of rest and joy and peace as Jesus meets you each day in His Word.
      Holding you in prayer, Tia, right this very moment.
      Brenda

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