Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest!
It’s a beautiful resort on a tropical island that is always warm, bright, and inviting. It's a got beachfront with cabins situated behind the sands with cabanas, beach chairs, surfboards and umbrellas littered across the coastline as far as the eyes can see. I ran past there many times before, but today I decided to just stop and settle in on the beach. It has been a busy and stressful week, and all I really wanted to do at that moment was to take a breath, look at the blue skies and hear the waves coming in. It was just what I needed.
I did get a few minutes of kicking the sand before I heard the sound of sniping and the airstrike coming my way. That’s life on Caldera. That’s Warzone.
Even though this virtual island is filled with many beautiful locations, for most of us, all we care about is who we are hunting and who is hunting us. We run from house to house, one hill over another, looking over our shoulders and our little map on the corner of the screen, all the while missing out on every detail and grandness of this fantasy island.
It is by design, of course, that we don’t experience Caldera like a tourism sim. It was not made for walks on the beach, or romantic gondola rides to the peak. It’s a game designed with one goal in mind: Finish as the last team/person standing.
Our life can also seem like a “last person standing” kind of game. For some, people are obstacles to overcome and subdue; a wolf and sheep type of multiplayer dynamic. For others, it may be the solo grind of survival, to last as long as you can against the crushing pressure of life and work. Eventually, we wonder if the earth is just a pretty rock where we grind out our mission to outlast each other. Did God create this planet just to watch us burn out or snuffed out?
In David’s famous Psalm 23, he writes,
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Have you ever wondered why God made the green pastures and the quiet waters? Why does David see life led by God as one marked by rest, comfort, blessings, goodness, and love? It’s certainly not because we made it happen! It’s not because we worked hard enough to earn rest and all the other good stuff. Rather, it’s all because God loves us. He creates because He is love. Our world and all that He created are not designed to be a backdrop for our battle royale. Instead, it is a message to us, a clue that calls us away from our grind and into His presence, from the knowledge of Him to knowing Him.
Caldera was designed to be a warzone, there is no way I can truly rest in peace there, but the world we are living in right now was lovingly made by someone who wants to know us. It is marred by sin, and yet it continues to speak to the God who created all things out of love. It cries out to us and calls us to look up.
Have you lost sight of God lately? That amid the grind of life, pandemic survival, the pressure of work and expectations, we may have fallen for the lie that we can’t find rest in this world; that we are on our own and it’s up to us to be the last person standing, and then maybe we can rest.
If that is where you are at right now, I want to point you back to Jesus. He is the Shepherd who is waiting to lead you to quiet water. He is the chain breaker who wants to free us from the grind that we often feel we are locked to. Let Him take you to the beach; let Him help you find rest where we can’t find before.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.