Anytime I start talking about self-care, I often remind those that are “too busy” of what the airline attendant says “You have to put your oxygen on before you can help others.” I know that we can not sustain pouring out care for others if we do not take care of ourselves first. I think self care is one of the reasons a day of rest made it into the ten commandments.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11
Even Jesus took time to retreat for some selfcare, according to Matthew 14:23 And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone… These are part of my normal verbiage when the topic comes up. So when the airline attendant when through her normal routine, I perked up a little in my attention.
The next thing that was said stuck with me after the presentation was finished. She said “Oxygen is still flowing even if the bag doesn’t inflate.” I thought about how if the oxygen bag dropped during my flight, and bag didn’t inflate, I would probably we pretty freaked out. I expect the bag to inflate if it is going to give me oxygen. I think, even with the warning that oxygen is still flowing even if it doesn’t inflate, I still would question the validity since my life might depend on it.
I thought about the times when I have walked through difficulties and wondered “God where are You?” Yet, just like the oxygen, I know He is still there flowing in my life. Just because I do not feel something in a service, doesn’t mean God wasn’t moving, in others, and even in me. We never know that God is doing in those moments where it doesn’t look like anything is happening in the natural.
Daniel comes to mind where the oxygen was still flowing, even though the bag did not inflate. Daniel had been in prayer and fasting for three weeks. Daniel 10:8 tells us that his physical condition as “no strength was left in me.” Yet, Daniel 10:12-13 shows what was really happening when it looked there was no oxygen flowing, there was a spiritual battle being fought.
Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia…
As I look back now on my “Where are You God?” moments, I see the greatest triumphs and lessons in my life. He was teaching me to walk in faith, that the things I say I believe are true. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that faith is the evidence of things not seen. If I can see the bag inflate, I don’t have to have faith that the oxygen is there. If I can see God’s hand orchestrating things, I don’t have to have faith that He is. Faith takes practice. It is harder to have faith in God for the bigger things, if I don’t keep my faith in Him with the little things.
I can trust that He is providing for what I need even when I don’t see a way, because I have seen Him as my Provider in the past. I can have faith for the healing, because I have seen Him heal in the past. I can see His peace in the chaos, because He has been my peace. I have faith in God’s strength, because I have seen Him strengthen me in weakness. I have faith in God’s protection, because He has been my shield in times of battle. I can trust Him to be my oxygen, because He is the air I breathe. I can keep the faith the He is still flowing, even when I don’t see the oxygen bag inflate.