“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
― Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions of Saint Augustine
I need more rest. You need more rest. Our culture needs more rest. But wait, what a wimp thing to be talking about: rest. “Lunch is for wimps!” and all that bluster.
Don’t fall for that nonsense. Satan loves to keep you busy and pressing and stressing. “If you can’t make them bad make them busy” is his rallying cry. But God says, “No, take a rest. I love you. I want you to have the A+ Life” – “life to the full,” as Jesus says.
Rest is not a luxury, it is an essential. But we keep charging ahead. The Energy Drink industry has exploded. Total sales in 2010 were 4 billion, leaping to 12 billion in 2011. And here’s a telling statistic: in 2012 sales for the new 5 Hour Energy “Extra Strength” drink were up 744% over the original 5 Hour Energy.
5 Hour Energy is no longer enough – we need extra strength energy for crying out loud!
And this is precisely what this energy drink addiction is all about: we are indeed crying out loud: “I need rest, but I don’t know where to find it.”
You can only find this rest in the safe arms of your Heavenly Father. Deep rest. Jesus comes along and gives us an astonishing invitation to this rest:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30
“I will give you rest – rest for your souls.” This is what you need: soul rest. Deep REM soul rest. The kind of rest that penetrates so deeply it shapes your entire perspective on life.
Rest, renewal and reverence all take time … still time … being still time. I hope you can find this during your Monday – Saturday life, but I doubt you’ll be able to get past a surface rest until you first find real rest in your Sabbaths. God seems to have set the Sabbath as the gateway into his REM soul rest.
Rest, and the Sabbath, are all about trust – trusting God at his word: “But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
“All these things” are what our 24/7 culture is chasing. But God promises all these things will be taken care of, if you trust him. That’s a bold promise, and one not to be ignored.
What would this trust look like in our frenetic world? Would we sit in a closet praying, and expect him to take care everything? No. We would actively pursue our purpose in life, but we would feel safe in “abandoning the outcome to God.”
We don’t control the outcome, but so much of our exhaustion comes from trying desperately to.
God reminds us the key to his rest is trust, and he links this rest to the Sabbath:
“For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did (the Israelites in the desert); but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith (trust).”
The Israelites, like so many of us, heard God, but they didn’t combine their ears with their hearts. They heard, but they had no real trust. They might have even believed with their ears, but didn’t combine it with trust in their hearts. No real trust, no real rest.
And here’s the Sabbath link: 9 “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” Hebrews 4: 3, 9, 10 (parentheses and bold added)
The more I respond to Jesus’ invitation to “come to him,” the more natural it is to seek first his Kingdom. The more I seek him first, the closer I get to him. The closer I get, the more I know him.
The more I know him, the more natural – easy, actually – it is to simply trust him.
And with this trust comes a pervasive sense of well-being, of safety, of wholeness … of rest.
I feel his power as I draft behind him. I have a calm, relaxed pace as I move through this frenetic and noisy culture. As I walk through the valley of the shadow of 24/7 mayhem, his rest envelopes me.
I started this journey with the Lord 18 years ago, but in the last 18 weeks the Sabbath has opened the gate deeper into his Kingdom, as I seek first my rest in him, and then watch how he “gives me all these things as well.”
If You Want at Little More:
Rest, renewal and reverence all take time … still time … be still time.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I
Be still and know that
Be still and know
Be still and