Over the last several years, I have heard Andrew Kern speak about teaching from a state of rest. Thoughts of teaching from a state of rest naturally led to thinking about how to live all of my life from a state of rest. Recently rest has been hard to find with school and work and family needs as well as all of those little crises and mishaps that occur in our fallen, broken lives. Even when I was able to get a full night’s sleep and a break from the relentless “to-do” list, I found myself still restless in spirit, if not in body.
The Lord promises us rest in the book of Hebrews: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” 4:9-10
And Christ Himself promises rest for the weary in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you 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.”
So if we are promised rest by the Lord and He never fails to keep His promises, why was I feeling so restless and weary and overwhelmed? I kept thinking that if just did X or accomplished Y or got through this week, things would be better, but the weariness remained and the rest remained elusive. Then last week, as I was commenting on a friend’s blog about rest being a mindset rather than enforced idleness, it hit me: rest is a way of viewing the world, a reliance on God’s strength and wisdom and power rather than my own, a trust in His perfect providence in my day to day life, a giving up of my own agenda, strength, and gifts and placing my hope entirely in the Lord’s work accomplished on my behalf in Christ.
Like Martha, I have been encumbered by many things and was forgetting that while working for the Lord and doing the work He has planned for me before the foundation of the world is good, doing it without first sitting at His feet as Mary did and hearing His voice and gaining strength and wisdom and power from Him, is not good.
However, I knew that it didn’t mean making sure that I checked off the quiet time box each morning but that I instead needed to set my mind on resting in Him every moment, every time I wanted to throw up my hands and run away, every time a wrench in my day threw the whole thing off, every time a child was sick or grumpy or didn’t understand that math problem, every time the snowy roads caused a cancellation, every time a doctor’s visit went too long, every time I wanted to just sit down and cry.
In every one of those moments, Jesus was saying to me, “Do you trust me to solve this? Do you really believe that I have already worked out how to deal with this? Can you let go of your own strength and determination to get X done and let me have My way in your life for your good and My glory? Do you have faith that I am your Good Shepherd and that you lack nothing?”
As the light of this truth (one I should have already known from many years of Him patiently teaching me this) was dawning this past week, I went to church on Sunday and during the sermon, our pastor read the words from one of my very favorite hymns: “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”. There was the answer, staring me in the face. It is in His love that I find rest. It is in His love that I find peace. It is in His love that I find the heaven on earth of His presence with me. His love is a current underneath, all around me; it never changes; it is an ocean vast of blessing; it is a haven sweet of rest. A haven sweet of rest–that rest that had been eluding me so long. The tears stood in my eyes as I felt that love encompassing me, lifting me up and carrying my burdens away.
Resting in the love of Christ. What a blessing. Hallelujah! What a Savior!