Sweetest Rest

So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.” 2 Samuel 16:13-14

“[Elijah]  was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life… He went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.’ And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.’ And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.” 1 Kings 19:3-8

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Matthew 11:28; Mark 6:31

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.” Genesis 2:2-3

Awakening early, I was overwhelmed at what a gift is God’s plan for sleep, for rest. What emotions had felt dark the night before were lighter, the body that was spent was renewed, weighty and tangled thoughts had been revived to fresh acuity. Rising to stretch, I offered praise for this beautiful, integral part of our very design, and what it accomplishes.

RIver Dee under sun and clouds, Aberdeen, Scotland

 From the beginning, after God created perfect man into a universe with days and nights, He established rest. Man has been made to work and interact, expend energy and execute plans and handle all sorts of emotions and stimuli, and God intends that a part of each day (night) be given to rest. He has made us to need to pause, sleep, rejuvenate, be refreshed for the conversations, the decisions, the battles, the race ahead. What a welcome built-in necessity and invitation to the weary soul!

We never know what a day may hold. These godly men in Scripture met vicious threats, taunting, and pursuing enemies. Our exhaustion may seep in through work, caring for another, grief, temptation, even regular responsibilities. Whatever the cause, our need is real, and God graciously meets us in His delicious gifts of rest and sleep.

What makes it hard for me to stop tending to the ‘urgent?’ What unhealthy pressures steal our time to turn off, unplug, and reset? What must change for rest to be a dedicated priority?

Lord, teach me to relish and appropriate the sweet refreshment You provide for body, mind, and spirit. Rejuvenate me regularly that I can spend myself for Thee.

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