We spend so much of our lives just trying to fit it all in. We thought we were busy when we were young with school, activities, maybe a job, family, church, and friends. Then we grew up and became parents, and the explosion of busy started. It began with the flood of baby things piled on top of the exhaustion. In time, we adjusted to the new normal and getting a lot less sleep, and the kids weren’t as demanding as they were as infants. Then came school. Who knew that being parents of highly involved students required more energy than any human should need? And, of course, there are not just children to keep up with…sports, homework, laundry, meals, packed lunches, more laundry, teachers, schedules, and the endless number of trips to who knows where. These things are all supposed to fit in the few hours that we’re not at work every day. Oh, and don’t forget to get eight hours of sleep and take care of yourself! Ha!
It’s no wonder that everyone is running on empty all the time. Tempers get short, health suffers, and the things that nourish our souls are pushed so far back in our minds that we don’t know how to find them anymore. Then the Bible talks about this thing called rest. Can God be serious?
When we think of rest, we think of inactivity. We conjure up visions of a glorious nap on a rainy day, soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach, or just getting to sleep in till we want to get up. We have goals of getting to retirement and having time to enjoy what we love without having to hurry all the time. Those things are indeed restful.
But the rest that God has promised is something different and far, far better. He offered rest to a people who were wandering in the desert for forty years. There’s nothing easy about that. He offered rest to a fugitive king who was running for his life. That doesn’t sound like relaxation. He offers rest to you and to me right in the midst of the most hectic days of our lives.
His people in the desert never entered into His rest because they lacked faith and obedience. King David fared better because, even though he wasn’t perfect, he sought hard after God, trusting and obeying to the best of his ability.
What God has offered to us is greater still. He has given Himself to us. Rest and peace are just parts of who He is. When we can settle our minds and hearts even for a few moments and remember how greatly He loves us and how every part of our lives rests in His hands, we experience rest. No matter how great the buzz around us, we can walk in rest and peace.
This isn’t the rest of inactivity. It requires active choices on our part. We choose to see life through His eyes with the highest reality being eternity, not the urgent need before us. We choose to not worry. When worry rears its ugly head a few minutes later, we choose to not worry again. It takes practice. We choose to love people whether they deserve it or not, realizing that we are unlovable, too. We choose to find our worth in what God thinks of us, not what society or that difficult person thinks of us. We choose forgiveness over bitterness. We choose gratitude over complaining.
We can’t muster this up from our own strength. We need to surrender, be humbled, and rely on His life in us in order to keep renewing our minds and choosing the truth. It sounds like a lot of effort, but it is the heart choice of each moment that makes all the difference. Surrender your life to Him and enter into a relationship where you learn to ask and receive from Him everything that you need. He will come and live in you and you will find in Him the rest, wisdom, peace, and power to meet every challenge you will face. His offer still stands. He doesn’t give us hoops to jump through; He gives Himself.
Hebrews 4; Matthew 5:25-34; Colossians 3:1-3, 12-17