Do you need rest?Jun 09, 2022
A theme emerged in multiple conversations I've had this month, the need for rest.
For some, it is the daily to-do list that seems to keep growing, the end-of-school activities that have us worn out, or the balance of work and life that has us hitting a wall. For others, it's been a season of warfare.
For me, too.
I can relate to both the crazy-busy and the warfare.
I look back on the past five months and see the book study, new courses (Hearing From God & Who God Says I Am) that I've released, and the new community God has birthed, and I, too, need a moment to breathe.
And, of course, right after the Bold & Confident Prayer Challenge, the enemy walloped me with a fierce attack of exhaustion, nightmares, discouragement, frustration, unbelief, and doubt.
Many of us have been an intense season; how about you?
- Worn out from the constant battle
We have a desperate need for R-E-S-T.
Yet, trimming the to-do list seems irresponsible. Taking a day off feels impossible.
And, with the price of airfare and gas, taking a vacation is expensive and unaffordable for many.
Maybe you're asking, "Cherlyn, how can I rest."
But rest is possible.
What is rest?
Heather, one of my dearest friends, described rest as "eating bon-bons while binge-watching Netflix."
Does anyone really eat bon-bons?
While bingeing movies on the couch may seem like rest, it's not. Research has found that bingeing can lead to poor quality of sleep, fatigue, and insomnia. So here we are, curled up on the couch watching movies or consuming countless episodes of shows, hoping it will bring us rest, and it doesn't.
Rest (according to Merriam-Webster) is:
- freedom from activity or labor, a state of motionlessness or inactivity
- a place of resting or dormancy, not marked by division
- peace of mind or spirit
- rhythmic silence in music
- something used for support (at rest)
As you read those definitions, which one do you need?
All of those definitions sound wonderful, but God offers something better.
The Rest from God.
Let's reframe rest. We first see rest in the Garden. After six days of creation, God rested.
This Hebrew word, rest, is shâbath (shaw-bath). According to Strongs, it means to complete or cease exertion, celebrate, cause to sit down, sit still, and rest.
We see a picture of God stopping, sitting down, and sitting still.
And He invites us to do the same.
I hear you, "But, Cherlyn, have you seen my life? It is impossible to stop, sit down and sit still."
And God knows that; that's why in Exodus 33:14, the Lord tells Moses, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
The word rest used here is the Hebrew word nûwach (pronounced noo'-akh), and it means to settle down; to dwell, stay, withdraw, be quiet, remain, and cause to be at rest.
This ability to rest, settle down, and be still, comes from God. He gives it to us.
This rest isn't something we can conger up on our own. It comes from Him and is a gift.
The invitation continues. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus tells us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
This word, rest, is from the Greek word, anapaúō (pronounced an-ap-ow'-o), which means to refresh; to cause or permit one to cease any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength.
Here we see Jesus tell us that to get refreshed or to recover and renew our strength, we just need to come to Him, and He will make it possible for us.
He will give us rest.
These verses hold the key to rest.
The world tells us that to rest, we need to do either do-something (sleep) or nothing (inactivity), but God says, "come to me," for it is His presence that gives us rest.
So rest; it isn't collapsing on the couch but crawling into the lap of our Father.
Rest isn't unplugging but plugging into our Source and connecting with the Creator.
Rest isn't escaping but experiencing the presence of God.
How do we experience the Presence of God?
Some think experiencing the presence of God is hours of uninterrupted time where you sit with your Bible and quietly pray. And that can be wonderful when we have the time for it.
Our lives do not allow for this all the time, especially with kids at home and demands at work.
So let me break off any spirit of religion which says, this is how you have to do it, or any lie from the enemy that says, you aren't good enough unless you do.
That is baloney. And it is not what Jesus said.
Be encouraged. Let's look at Matthew 11:28-30 in context.
- From the NIV: "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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
- From the Message: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
- From the Passion: "Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you'll discover that I'm gentle, humble, and easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear."
This passage shows Jesus telling us that what we learn from Him will be easy and light. Experiencing the presence of God and getting rest from Him isn't some impossible standard or routine to follow. No, it is a rhythm filled with grace.
Yes, we are invited to get away with him. We can walk with him and work with him. We can invite his presence into every moment.
How does this work?
It can mean looking at that to-do list and saying, "God, I need your presence."
It can be going about your day and inviting "God to go with me."
And it's just as simple as saying, "Jesus, I need your rest."
Repeat after me.
"Jesus, I need your rest."
Let me pray for you
God, I thank you for creating rest for us because you knew we would need it, and I thank you that this rest is attainable and we can access it anytime. I thank You that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. We just have to come to you, so God, I come to you today, and I declare the rest of God over us today. Let your presence be tangible and give us the rest we need. Amen!
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