Today, my heart feels tenderized. Reality’s been raining down, and my soul is deluged. The weariness has seeped past the bone and hit soul bottom. My eyes burn from poor sleep and suppressed tears. A blanket of grief has settled on me—for what is and what isn’t, for what was and what will never be, for what I know and what I don’t know.
Sitting at work, I blink back the fatigue. My two large computer monitors stare me down for eight hours a day. Ninety-seven percent of the time they are littered with open programs—web browsers, documents and spreadsheets and notepads, images, emails, database records—and I can’t see the background buried behind the details.
But not today. I minimize everything on the left monitor. I sweep all the clutter away with a few clicks of the mouse. Because right now I need to see the background.
It’s a picture I didn’t know was being taken at the time. Someone emailed it to me a few weeks later. The subject line said “Mt. Arbel,” and one image was attached. It’s a scenic shot taken on top of Mt. Arbel looking over the northern part of the Sea of Galilee. It’s miles of shoreline, water and rolling hills. And there in the foreground I sit, perched on a rocky outcropping gazing across the lake toward Capernaum. I’d slipped away from the group to get right on the edge, so nothing would separate me from the view, and someone took a picture.
Two years and half a world away I feel the sun-warmed rocks and the whipping wind. I hear the stillness. I remember this is one of those “desolate places” Jesus retreated to for solitude and prayer. And I get it.
Jesus—God made man—needed space and alone-ness to breathe, to be, to continue on. He understood His soul’s claustrophobia. He grasped the suffocating weight of grief. His heart broke. He wanted to quit, but He didn’t. He surrendered.
My eyes take in the deep blue of the water. They linger on the far shore. They meander over the hills. And I know. Right here, right now—in this desolate place—it’s safe to surrender the weight I’ve been carrying, to entrust it to my Savior, to leave it behind on the rocks.
There’s nothing to quit . . . but there’s much to surrender.
Note: While this was originally written last spring, when I was looking at different computer monitors in a different job with different realities raining down, there’s still nothing to quit but much to surrender. And Mt. Arbel will always be a place that helps me leave the weight with Jesus.