Imagine this: you’ve just gotten back from a long and relaxing tropical vacation. You had lots of time to relax, do all your favorite things, and spend time with the Lord. What is one of the first things you do or think when you get back? It’s usually along these lines:
Phew, that was great, but I’m exhausted from all that traveling! I need to take a nap. It’s gonna take me a few days to adjust back to normal life, so I may need to get some extra sleep.
Rather than being satisfied with all the extra rest and relaxation time, our bodies naturally want more. But I believe more and more as time goes on that
rest is hardly satisfying
we are spiritually rested.
I am naturally someone who doesn’t need a ton of sleep. But I can easily get exhausted with work, ministry, and just doing life with others. It wasn’t until recently that I have been finding in Scripture that the most important rest—in God’s eyes—is to have our souls rested in Him. When this happens, it makes me less dependent on the physical aspect of rest and more dependent on Him to give the rest I need.
You see, no matter how many naps you take, sleeping pills you get, or vacations you are on, you will never find yourself rested until your soul is really rested in the Lord Jesus.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him… | Psalm 37:7a
1) It is a command
Resting is a tough thing to do even when someone is physically making you rest. But what about with God—whom we cannot see with our physical eyes? And how does He motivate us to rest?
He tells us to.
There may be times where He physically makes us unable to do anything else so we learn to sit at His feet and rest. I have had seasons of terrible pain in my face where I was made unable to do anything but pray and find my rest and comfort in the Lord. But He asks us to rest in Him whether or not we are sick, or “feeling” tired, or in need. This command has no caveat. It means always, anywhere, anytime, anyone.
Thus says the Lord, “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls…” | Isaiah 6:16
2) It requires discipline
Choosing to find our rest in God takes discipline and a conscious effort, as it means choosing the unseen over the seen.
You know how sometimes you have to cancel plans or say “no” to something fun to get the required sleep and rest you need? In like manner, we may have to cancel other plans and make time to get rested, spiritually. The thing about soul rest is that it’s not measurable…and therefore, can be difficult to make time to do for someone like me who craves efficiency.
But the satisfaction that ensues in the Lord is worth the discipline of quieting our hearts before Him.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. | Matthew 11:28
He wants us to come to Him first and foremost for our rest and satisfaction!
Physical rest is (of course) a good thing, but, as believers in the Lord Jesus, let us not forget the most important rest there is…and it only comes from God.
He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. | Isaiah 40:29-31