After three solid days of intense experiences in Africa, we took a small plane (which was an intense experience of itself) to a spot about 250 miles away from Kampala, the only city in Uganda. The lodge we were staying at was powered by a generator. The nearest medical facility was six hours away on unpaved and potentially unsafe roads.
We were in the middle of nowhere.
And it was time to rest.
One afternoon, we took a ferry across the Nile River and then hopped in a small bus. We drove half an hour on the bumpiest dirt road one could ever imagine to Murchison Falls, one of the many wonders of the world. We then hiked another half hour to the very top.
Slowly we progressed on a narrow, rocky trail, dodging tree branches and mosquitoes along the way. We occasionally stopped at the most beautiful parts of the rapids, taking each others pictures, but for the most part, the hike remained quietest part of the trip.
As we reached the top of the falls, we passed several signs warning us of the steep cliffs and the danger that awaited. Nobody was scared. Everyone was in awe. We helped each other over the slippery rocks and finally reached the very top.
Our guides told us many people have died at Murchison Falls. There are no rails to stop you from falling over. It?s you. The rocks. And the falls. The beauty of water is transformed into something breathtaking. People become mesmerized by the unique blend of tranquility and power. Some to the point they lose footing and fall over.
Standing as close to the edge as our leaders and guides would let us, we let the wind carry the spray and slowly drench us. Any fears of falling, of accidentally swallowing the parasite-infested water, of getting ravished by malaria-carrying mosquitoes had all vanished.
The hardships of the trip – the pain we saw, the poverty, the brokenness – those things didn’t disappear or float away in the rapids of the Nile. But taking that day to rest, to go to a quiet place and be reminded of the incredible power of the Creator, if anything, more tightly knit His sovereignty and hope to the terrible things we did see.
Rest bound together the incomplete to the complete.
We cannot be dependent on ourselves and dependent on God at the same time. When we consider the practice of rest unnecessary, we also will inevitably lose sight of the necessity of God.
(*This essay is also part of my first book, Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic)