Rest. What is rest?
-The refreshing quiet or repose of sleep.
-Refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor.
-Relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.
I must admit that I have trouble resting. It’s difficult for me to set aside what I feel like needs to be done and just rest. If a movie’s playing, surely there’s something I should be accomplishing simultaneously. If I have one free hand, surely there’s something it should be doing while I’m taking care of something else.
But what about spiritual rest? How do we experience the peace that passes all understanding when it seems like the walls are caving in around us? How could a person possibly have peace, when everything in their life seems to be going the opposite direction that they’d hoped and expected it would?
I love what God’s Word says about rest in Hebrews 4:
God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. (Hebrews 4:1, 2 NLT)
Basically, the Israelites (who this passage is referring to) didn’t experience entering the rest of God and enter the promised land because they refused to have faith. They refused to believe the God who had shown them time and time again that He alone was worthy to be trusted. That He alone would take care of them and provide for them. I personally believe Hebrews is referring to more than salvation. I believe there is a rest available to the people of God, that can enable us to have confident hope, regardless of what turmoil or trial we face. After all, it is by faith that we experience peace in the middle of every storm. When we know who is taking care of us and we trust His Word, we are assured that our faithful God will come through each and every time.
The Lord has really been dealing with me about what true spiritual rest is. I believe the third definition for rest brings it home for me the most.
Relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.
It is actually freeing when we finally release our weariness, our troubles, and whatever is disturbing us to The Lord and simply believe Him; simply trust that He is good and He is going to handle the situation entirely.
When I was a little girl, I would often ride with my Deddy in his little Datsun truck. When I’d get sleepy, I’d lean over and lay my head on his lap and go to sleep. It was the most cozy, safe feeling in the world. I didn’t care if it was storming. I didn’t care where we were going. I knew everything was going to be alright as long as I was in the truck with my Deddy.
That’s the kind of rest The Lord has for us in every circumstance, y’all. It’s a confident assurance that our Lord is good, He knows what He’s doing, and wherever He’s taking us is going to be good. It’s the confidence that His promises are true, and they’ll surely come to pass. As long as our Lord’s in the truck, per say, it’s going to be alright.
A few weeks ago I had allowed myself to become…Dare I say it? …overwhelmed. I hate the word. Overwhelmed is not from the Lord. Ever. Why? Because you and I can do all that God calls us to do, with victory. Period. It takes putting our eyes on Him. It takes letting His spirit move through us. But if God calls us to do it, we can walk through it with victory. One morning though, my list felt overpowering. It was probably because I had added things to my list that God had never intended for me to waste my energy on to begin with. I was viewing my life and all the responsibilities through a lens of my own capabilities and strength. No wonder I felt overwhelmed. Then The Lord reminded me of his word in Zachariah, chapter 4 verse 6…
Not by might, nor by strength, but by my Spirit says The Lord of hosts.
Over and over the scripture rang in my heart. Over and over I was reminded of who is fighting the battles and impossibilities before me. I remembered who is driving this truck. I remembered his faithfulness. I remembered that He’s taking me somewhere good. And I suddenly had perfect rest.
The truth is, my ability to have rest as I walk through life is directly related to my level of faith. Am I trusting God and all of his promises or am I trusting in my own strength as I attempt to work out every issue? If I really want rest, I’ll leave it with my Abba Deddy. The one driving this truck. I gave him the keys years ago, and I know that not only is He able to handle all my junk…He will handle all my junk. He’s invited me to rest my head on His lap as we go through life’s adventures. I don’t need to fret over a thing.
He can handle family issues. He can handle sickness. He can handle sleepless nights and He can handle $35,000 adoption processes. I know He can. I know He will. And that my friends, brings sweet rest to my soul.