“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
I lie still on the massage table as she attempts to loosen this tight rope running down my spine. She tells me to relax since there is nothing I can do to assist her in her work. My job is to simply breathe deep and be still as she massages out the toxins and impurities. She reminds me to breathe, tells me not to resist, so I breathe deep through all her kneading and pressing.
As I lie still, I think of the picture that my four-year-old Katie colored just recently. She has rarely drawn anything other than smiley faces and rainbows, but in the midst of all my resentment and frustration with these bodily restrictions, she smiles, holds up a picture, and says. “It’s you, Mommy, you're sleeping on a boat.” I smile back, tell her it is a beautiful picture, but what God speaks to me is even more beautiful. He reminds me of the time Jesus slept in the boat in the midst of the storm.
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27)
So God used the storm to display his glory, to show the disciples who He was. And they were the ones who should have been sleeping, fully trusting in their Lord to care for them. Sleeping like a child in the boat because the God of the universe was at the helm. Breathing deep through the storm.
And now I see how I sound just like the disciples, asking Jesus, "Don't you care if I drown?" "Don’t you care if I drown in doctor appointments, and frustrations and disappointments of these bodily restrictions?" I ask, but I see Katie’s picture, and I hear Jesus whisper, Peace, be still. The only thing you are drowning in is unbelief. It is the resentment of your restraints that actually restrains you. Breathe deep, lie still, and trust me. The calming of the storm will display my glory and will teach you who I am...
So I lie still, and I breathe deep as the therapist presses her elbow into my sciatic nerve. The pain is more than I can bear, and as she presses, tears are in danger of being pressed out. I try to relax, breathe through the pain, but I have not felt pain like this since the birthing of children, of breathing deep to get to the joy on the other side. And I remember that my life was birthed through Jesus’ pain, through his sweating of blood and acceptance of a cup in Gethsemane. A cup that He willingly took. "Take this cup away from me," He said. "Yet not my will, but thine be done."
I think of that word “Gethsemane” and how it means olive press and how the enormous pressure of the stones of the press pressed out every drop of oil from the olives, so that not a single drop was wasted. And I know that not a single drop of Jesus' blood was wasted, and God reminds me that my pain will never be wasted, even as the tears threaten to be pressed out.
Her strong hands massage the knots and toxins out of my muscles making them more supple, causing them to move more freely. “You think I torture you," she says "but it is for your good..." So I submit to the pressure, breathe deep, allow the tears to be pressed out.
I wanted to scream at God the other day for all his pressing, question him for these 15 years of back and neck issues, but then I hear him whisper, I’m teaching you to breathe, to be still in the storm, remembering that I am God. It's the breathing deep, the resting in the storm, the sleeping in the boat, that allows Me to massage out the impurities, these things that keep you bound, this resenting of restraints that restrains you even more, this will of yours that needs to be pressed out so that I can bring wholeness and healing, so that your love for me is more pure, so that your love for others is more pure.
Father, your love for your people made Jesus press out blood in Gethsemane and maybe your love for your people makes me press out tears on this table, on this olive press...
Paul said, ”We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body." (2 Corinthians 4:8-11)
She finishes her pressing out of this mortal body, then tells me to stand up slowly and get dressed. I clothe myself, walk out of the massage parlor, and as I am driving away, I see that the name of the spa is “Rejoice,” and I am reminded that Paul tells me to rejoice in my sufferings, in these light and momentary troubles.
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.” Colossians 1:24
So as my tears press out, Christ fills these cups that I wish he would take from me, but as I take the cup, he fills up what is lacking in Christ in my flesh. So I take the cup at this Gethsemane, this olive press pressing out my own will, that will which can only hinder Christ’s beautiful body, the Church. Because it is the taking of cups in Gethsemane that allows my cup to overflow. So I swallow hard, and I breathe deep, and I get still, and I know that He is God…