“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, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” “And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 33:14; Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 6:31
Rest can be elusive in days of coming and going, and nights of tossing and turning and active minds. There is always much that deters us from rest, yet it is commanded, and exemplified, by our Creator as necessary and good. He who made us also made rest for us. He knows we need it for restoration of our souls, and invites us to find it in His presence. His strong shoulders bear us up, His companionship is our solace.
When we choose rest, urgency’s tyranny loses its hold on us. When we choose rest, our minds are renewed with clean air and fresh insight. When we choose rest, we have time to contemplate the holy, the eternal, to gaze at Almighty God’s wondrous world and nestle close to Jesus’s riven side. When we choose rest, lines blur between what we think important and what God would have us do, and our eyes lift to see the Spirit working and leading and making a divine way for His will to be done.
Why is it so hard to cease the coming and going, to say no to requests, to prioritize demands, to delegate, to simplify? Can we not be satisfied with an excellent job and rest? What self-serving drive compels us to push constantly for more, farther, better? While we are called beyond complacency, we are also called to the humble and desolate alone where it is well with our souls, where there are no comparisons, no compulsions, no fears or even thoughts of missing out on something greater than being with our Lord.
Would we heed His beckon today? Would we take time to practice the blessedness of His present companionship, to get familiar with His heartbeat and enjoy the silences as well as the conversation? Would we bring all the cares and stresses and fears that encumber our thoughts and hamper our steps to Jesus, and submit to His yoke, and learn the joy and balance of a shared load? Would we intentionally come away from whatever pulls our attention and affections and take leisure with Him and His word?
“Jesus, I am resting, resting,
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.” ~Jean Sophia Pigott (1876)
My loving Lord, thank You for Your invitation to rest. I RSVP with a willing “yes.”