It’s a big deal…
April 18th, 2019
It appears 310 times in my Bible. Your mileage may vary depending on the translation you’re referencing, but the point is, rest is one of the more frequently referenced words in the scripture.
I woke up this morning about a half hour earlier than I normally do. It was just a few minutes before 5AM and thinking it wasn’t enough time to go back to sleep I got up, took the dog out, fed the cats, and started a pot of coffee brewing.
I made my way back to my chair to work on this morning’s devotional despite the overwhelming weariness that was all around me. I wasn’t sad; I wasn’t encumbered with worry or doubt. I was just not awake fully and despite doing my best to attempt to focus, my mind wouldn’t engage.
Last night our men’s group, which meets on Wednesday nights, launched an 8-week study on prayer. I’ve been studying for that first evening a week or more, so just as intended when you study something intently, prayer has been in the forefront of my thinking.
So, this morning as I’m struggling to get going, I thought to myself that in my present condition, the best use of my time might be to close my eyes and pray. Thanking God for the day, asking for Him to restore my mind, clear the fog and give me a focus for today’s devotional.
I’m not sure if I drifted off in to a light sleep or what, but when I concluded my ad hoc prayer time and opened my mind it was immediately clear rest was the topic. The short time spent in communion with the Lord had done it. I was refreshed and my mind was clearing the fog away rapidly.
No longer was I fighting sleep, and I was at peace; amazed by what He had done in that short few minutes I’d spent in prayer. His rest is literally miraculous!
When we consider rest and what Jesus shared with us one passage seems to come to mind almost immediately…
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (HCSB)
Come to Jesus when we are weary. The invitation is there. Off load your burdens and take up the yoke he has fashioned for each of us and we discover that our hearts will become light and we will find the rest we seek.
It happened for me this morning. It can happen for any of us if we rest in Christ Jesus.
Rest results from trusting in the Lord. When we vest our trust in Him, we release ourselves from the burden of controlling everything. He is the mover and shaker. We are not the catalyst for change in our lives, despite what we might convince ourselves of.
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.
Isaiah 26:3 (HCSB)
This morning the Lord wanted my time with Him. I needed His peace and rest.
We are an adventurous bunch. We know the comforts that God has for us. In most cases we have experienced it firsthand. Yet, the littlest distraction can find us wandering off, curious about what may be harmless but often the harm is in that we are separated from the Master’s hand and guidance.
Few passages convey this truth, as well as, the 23rd Psalm.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life; He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.
Psalms 23 (HCSB)
The image of rest contained in this Psalm puts us at peace and comforts us.
His rest is something we play a major role in accomplishing. We have to choose it. We can stand outside that rest and fight our battles on our own, or we can enter into His rest and ally our inapt force with that of His. Doing so find we rest in Him.
Therefore, while the promise to enter His rest remains, let us fear that none of you should miss it. For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith,
Hebrews 4:1-2 (HCSB)
We can have “REST”, anytime under any circumstances. His rest is complete and abiding. But we have to surrender to the will of Jesus in our lives. That’s one of those things that is often easier to say than it is to put into practice. But it is critical that we seek rest in Jesus. Matthew 11:28-30 says it all, His yoke, our rest. The cross laid before us, His comfort in us.
In the Grace of Jesus!