When You Are Shut in, Can God Help You Find Rest?

shut inCan God offer you a retreat but still shut you in? Kerryn discovers that forced rest is one of His gifts.

“You hem me in–behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:5).

Living with chronic invisible illnesses can create some interesting twists! They regularly leave me with choices of how to respond.

My middle son and I both suffer chronic illnesses and are “shut ins.” A dear couple from church have given us the use of their beautiful beach house, to give my husband some respite from caring for us.

Our eldest son had come to care, set us up, and make some meals to freeze for us. He left when my middle son and I were asleep. Thoughtfully and carefully he locked the sliding door. He then hid the key in its normal spot after leaving a note to explain we were safely locked in. He would be back in five days.

When I awoke I was praising God for my eldest son’s love and care, but it didn’t last long!

I made a bee line for the door to unlock it. Hmmmm, it wouldn’t open! It seems that when locked from the outside, it needs a key on the inside, to open it. . . the key that was hidden outside!

I thought, “I’ll open the front sliding door to the balcony instead.” It’s so heavy and awkward that neither my middle son, nor I, could open it due to weakness from our illnesses! Yet another door also needed the key that was safely hidden outside!

The weather was wet, cold and awful and I heard the Lord whispering to rest, sit with Him, listen to Him and write with Him. My response was to find escape routes . . . outside to the driving rain?!

I tried every key on the key rack, but nothing worked for those doors!

Frustration, anger, and anxiety all took over, as I focused on the problem, rather than the Lord’s still small voice. It was such a little thing that had turned into a big deal.

I eventually gave in.

Sitting with the Lord and resting, His words poured out of me onto the laptop, even though I was beyond exhausted.

Then a little lonely key, on the buffet, shown up at me–two days later, when I wasn’t looking! It was the key I needed. It was now that I giggled with the verse He was reminding me of in Psalm 139:5.

In the American Standard Version it says: “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.” I smiled at His sense of humor–again!

Prayer: Thank You Lord, that You “hem me in behind and before” to bless me. Help me to recognize those times that You’re calling me to sit with You, rather than focusing on the problems around me. Keep me smiling with You, Lord. Amen.

About the Author:
Kerryn Wright lives with her family amongst the gum trees in South Australia. She was a special education teacher prior to chronic illnesses. Her husband is carer for three of their family, who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. God has always guided them through life’s challenges, often in surprising ways.

What little things do you get tripped up on through weakness or illness? What lessons have you learned through them? What giggles have you had with the Lord?

This is Todd Vaters singing “Rest in Me.” I have heard that one of the most powerful tools of the enemy is busyness. Take some time today to just rest–in Him.

4 thoughts on “When You Are Shut in, Can God Help You Find Rest?

  1. Kerryn, this is so beautiful! I was just thinking this past week how I am often blessed when I “submit”, but almost always God has to give me no other option. I am certain I am one of his “problem children” 😉
    I always tell my husband, I was a bit of a homebody before becoming housebound, so I’m not sure where I would want to go, or if I would go, but just having that option taken off the table is what is so difficult to accept.
    Love the verse you used, I’m adding it to my favorites to bring to mind the next time…. and I’m sure I’ll giggle when I remember it, too.
    Blessings to you! ❤ Heart Hugs, Shelly

    • Thanks Shelly. I’m definitely a slow learner & one of His “problem children” too!! However, I am getting better at hearing Him & “getting” what He’s saying to me & following faster! PHEW! I’m a long way off of being an A+ student though!! 😉

      I hear you completely about being housebound & the grief that it brings. SIGH! Sorry you’re going through that too. Glad that the verse is helpful & that you had a giggle. We all need to laugh! 🙂 God bless. Lotsoluv Kerryn ♥

  2. 5 months ago I was injured and now have chronic pain. I googled pain encouragement and found this sight. I feel so depressed and it feels like I have suffered a loss. This is my body now. I am still trying to find my way, a way to cope everyday. Its hard not talking about the pain, I don’t want to be a burden on anyone. The different meds I am on make me moody. I have started to pray again, but wish sometimes God had no allowed this to happen, after a series of other major life stressors. Any tips how to let go of frustration, and feel happy at the same time as severe pain? How is it possible.

    • Oh Stacey!! I’m sooooo sorry to hear all of that. You sound like me, in not wanting to “be a burden on anyone.” I’m delighted that you’ve found this site & that you “have started to pray again.” God has surely directed you here, as He did for me when I was desperately in need of encouragement from others who understand chronic invisible illnesses. Thank You God! 🙂

      Coming to God is the best way to handle the toughest of days. I’ve come to realize that “feeling happy” is quite elusive, however being content & having the joy that comes from God IS possible, as that is what He gives us on the toughest of days, if we allow Him in. Today has been a REALLY tough day & I’ve had a major “melt-down”…..that reminded me that I’ve moved away from allowing God to meet my needs by being still in His presence. Just now I’ve done that & His joy, contentment & peace flooded in again, despite all that my body is suffering. So I KNOW that it’s possible! Matthew 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

      I’d highly recommend that you check out: http://restministries.com/
      It’s a sister site to this started by the same lady: Lisa Copen. On there you can read other devotionals & also join the Rest Ministries Sunroom. It’s a place full of wonderful groups of people who love the Lord & truly understand the struggles with chronic invisible illnesses. I greet all new people there, so I hope to see you there Stacey. I’d be happy to help you find suitable groups of people to chat to & share with. Take care. Gentle hugs. ♥♥ God bless. Lotsoluv Kerryn

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