In July of 1983, ya, that's a long time ago, my cousin Lawrence Dueck and I each bought new '83 Gold Wings (Sorry, I came to the brotherhood later! It happened in 2003, 100 years after the brotherhood was born.). We were planning to go "north to Alaska, go north the rush is on!" The list of essentials in biking vary from rider to driver. One essential I have valued over time is proper footwear, especially in rain. My faith in rain-footwear rests on one proven product- rubber! (Although in 2008 Julia and I ran in torrential rainfall and plastic hog barn boot pull-overs keep me dry- but that's for a later story.) All the hype about- and I don't care if it's Harley's footwear or bike boots made in Turkey, China or Vancouver (where it rains almost constantly)- RAIN PROOF FOOTWEAR has me unconvinced. If it's made of leather, it's not going to keep my feet dry. We get leather from cows, bulls and steers, and they sweat and that's water that is coming through what manufacturers are building "rainproof" footwear out of. It doesn't work. One might as well advertise how absorbent saran wrap is or how fantastic wax paper is in soaking up spills. Rubber is used for a variety of applications- to keep out moisture in many cases.
Lawrence and I are on our way to Alaska. And as we stop to gas up our stomachs at MacDonald's people come- those who dare encroach the personal space of mean bikers [we were on Gold Wings- why do people equate leathers with murderers and bikers with the mission field- we were God loving, Jesus honoring, Spirit filled Christians just looking for a good vacation]- and asked the usual questions. We said we were going to Alaska. We did not receive an overbearing amount of encouragement. Alaska Highway and bikes went together about as well as lament Psalms and comedy sermons. And it rained, and it rained and rained. Yes, our leather, oil enhanced, weathered cowboy boots did not keep our feet dry no matter how much snake oil we plastered on them. Wet feet and a mind bombarded with negative resumes about the Alaska Highway left us pretty much melancholy.
In Philemon 7 Paul says this about Philemon:
χαρὰν γὰρ πολλὴν ἔσχον καὶ παράκλησιν ἐπὶ τῇ ἀγάπῃ σου, ὅτι τὰ σπλάγχνα τῶν ἁγίων ἀναπέπαυται διὰ σοῦ, ἀδελφέ. (Philemon 1:7) For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother (NASB).
The word ἀναπέπαυται translated "have been refreshed" implies relaxation, refreshment, as a preparation for the renewal of labor or suffering (Rienecker). It's akin to the coffee break.A rest from work to refresh for the next shift. Like a line change in hockey. The change does not mean the player's job is done for the game. It's a rest from the previous shift to prepare for the next shift. The saints are not out of the fire, not drafted out of the fight. No, they are still in the fight, but they have had a refreshment, and now they are ready for the next series of fights and encounters with the evil world forces of darkness. That's the meaning of ἀναπέπαυται.
We finally arrived in Grand Prairie, AB. Wetter than the salivations of Pavlov's mutt, we squeaked into the local Zeller's with our soggy boots and socks looking for one item- rubbers. Fashions were out the door. We wanted function, not form. The lady must have had a chuckle as we came into the store. Our dampened spirits from all the negative publicity of bikers going on the Alaska Highway and our extremely humid feet had us ready for a refreshment. It came from the most unlikely source. The lady servicing us was old enough to be our mother twice over, but her spirit was fully tuned up with the optimism of a neonate. She assured us over and over again that the Alaska Highway was not an issue. She gave us new hope. She refreshed us. We needed exactly that lady's enthusiastic prophecy. Dry socks. Rubber boots. Refreshed spirits. We never looked back.
I am going to something as nice to someone today as that lady did to us some 28 years ago.