Rest for Your Soul

Do you need some rest? One source I read states that 60% of adults complain of having problems with getting a full night’s sleep. I count myself among that number.

We also may feel we need some rest from the work we have to do. We may yearn for rest from some kind of stress or problem in our lives.

In building our lives around a seven day week God made it clear from the beginning (at creation) that one day in seven should be set aside for rest. He even commanded it (the fourth of the Ten Commandments).

Sometimes we dream of being able to get away from it all by going on a vacation, preferably to some really nifty sounding place. The psalmist felt that way. “I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.’” (Psalm 55:6)

Of course there are some tangible things we can do to feel rested by taking control of our schedule, including when we go to bed and get up, not working an exhaustive number of hours, etc. We can take that vacation. But what we want to focus on here are the less tangible ways we’re to find rest, those that focus on the spiritual dimension.

We become restless when we feel we have to be in control of things. We yearn for rest when we are consistently agitated. We want rest from a host of drives, temptations, and yearnings that can never be fulfilled, and many that should never be fulfilled. We are a restless people!

Even adequate sleep or an extended vacation will not give us an ultimate sense of being rested. Instead, we need to affirm our ultimate and utter dependence upon God. “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5) Another psalm reminds us that “whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1) As Saint Augustine said, our hearts are restless until they rest in God.

Jesus extended a couple of invitations to those who were willing to take Him seriously. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) The second one was directed specifically to His twelve disciples. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) We need to take these invitations personally!

Join me in taking a deep breath, offering up a silent or even whispered prayer to God, “Lord, help me find rest in you, right now!” I’m not promising an instant and complete sense of being at rest – more likely than not this won’t be the case. I am suggesting that you join me in seeking to affirm that ultimately it is in a turning to, a dependence on, and a yielding to the Lord that will help us begin to experience a rest that only He can provide.

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