As they began their trip, they chatted with each other excitedly. They were grateful for the time alone together. Too many hours had been spent in different wings of the lab. Three days alone together seemed like a second honeymoon.
Hours wore on and the couple at last reached their campsite for the night. Relieved, the wife sat down by the campfire and stared up at the stars. The night was quiet, and she spent moments breathing in the fresh air and staring into the endless darkness of space. Her husband sat beside her for a few moments, gently holding her hand. He got up. Within minutes the night silence was broken by the crackle of twigs and brush underfoot.
"Honey, what are you doing?" His wife asked.
"Oh. Just looking around."
"Come back over here and sit by me."
"I can't! I am a scientist! I can't sit still. There is stuff to be understood, to be discovered. There is much I could learn. Why does this tree grow like this? How can this moss survive in this climate? How can you just sit there staring off into space. Get your notebook! Make observations. The night wildlife is fascinating."
"I'm more fascinated by the stars. Aren't they beautiful?"
"Well, yes dear, but the stars... that's all been seen before. Nothing new there. This... this is new, fascinating, exciting. I wonder what it is. I want to understand it. I'm going to get up early tomorrow to investigate these strange holes in the forest canopy. I wonder what lives up there."
The next morning, the wife found herself enjoying a trail breakfast on her own. With amusement, she watched her husband attempt to climb a large oak tree. After many failed attempts, he glared at her in frustration.
"I could use a little help here." The sarcasm was thick and the anger was evident.
"Help with what?"
"Getting up this tree."
"Why do you need to get up the tree? You can see the leaves just fine from here."
"I need to get closer! I need to take measurements. To evaluate. To analyze why this tree has grown this way."
"I am a scientist. It is what I do."
"Well, this scientist is going for a walk. The leaves are beautiful and I can see them just fine from down here. You climb your own tree."
With that, she began a leisurely stroll through the surrounding wooded area. She spent an hour lying on the bank of a rippling brook. Even drank water from a crystal clear spring. For hours, she wandered through the breath-taking scenery and made her way back to camp. Her husband was obviously disheveled and annoyed with something.
That night, she slept outside on the ground, staring up into the stars. Her husband climbed into the tent and slept. In the morning, they packed up camp and headed home in akward silence.
When the work week rolled around, coworkers commented on the drastic difference between husband and wife. When confronted with the reason for her joy and refreshment, the wife says, "For once, I put aside my agenda and my training to just step back and enjoy this world. I didn't have to understand how it worked. I didn't have to be running an experiment or making some discovery. I enjoyed the simple. The things that have been studied over and over and over again. The basics. I relished in those. I knew the time would come for great discovery, but while the earth was quiet, I learned to quiet myself and I found rest."
This is true with our spiritual lives sometimes. Too often we get caught up in knowing more about God. So caught up that we forget that knowing about Him and knowing Him are two entirely different things.
As humans, it is our natural tendency to stress about details. But Scripture tells us not to worry. We are concerned about our futures, but we are promised a future of hope. We get caught up in the details of the faith. What does the Bible say about this or that? What Bible study should I do next? What passage should I memorize this time?
We get caught up in motions and when our spiritual life seems to lack motion we feel there is something wrong. We panic. We being to worry about the fact that we are worrying. We begin to despair over being in despair. We get so caught up in ourselves that we forget to just be. Just be in His presence. Just fall in love with Who He is. Just take one moment, and instead of tearing apart the hidden meaning of some obscure passage, find the treasure in the stars of the familiar.
God does not promise us a life of constant activity. He knows we can't handle constant activity. He knows we need time to just rest. There is a reason why, in Psalm 23, the Psalmist says of the Lord,
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul:
If you are at a slow point in your life, embrace it. Lie down, be still and let Him restore your soul.