It was a rainy, cold Monday morning. We all got up too late and I rushed the kids off to school, frantic and frazzled, not the best way to start the week.
We had a busy back-to-back weekend and I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was lie on my couch, snuggle under the covers, pet my cat, eat some snacks, and watch sermons on YouTube. I desperately needed time to be still and stay quiet and recover.
I was longing to rest.
But there was laundry to do and food to make and work to get done and the list went on and on.
And as I pushed myself through some of the tasks on my established “to-do” list, still wishing I was over on that couch soaking in some solace, it hit me.
God made time to rest after He created the Heavens and the Earth and all living creatures, great and small, in every magnificent and miraculous detail. I’m sure I would have thought about many more things I could do to keep the whole thing going, but God didn’t. He stopped and said, “It is good.” And rested, and in doing so, He taught us a critical lesson in how we should live. And if His example wasn’t enough, surely writing it on a stone tablet, commanding us to do it would be?
Ah, the Sabbath. Oh yes, that.
And yet, we still don’t make space in our busy lives to practice the very thing He demonstrated fourth on His master list of what He requires of us so we don’t fall in this fallen world. The rest of His top 10 we get, and some we might still wrestle with, but this one? It seems to get lost in the shuffle of our scurrying as if it doesn’t really matter, as if this whole “rest thing” is some elusive reward we never fully earn.
Don’t murder, got it. Don’t steal or commit adultery, for sure. And all the others make perfect sense and we understand the severity and seriousness of them all. But that Sabbath one, whoa . . . eh.
In the height of Jesus’ ministry, often after doing amazing work and when the crowds were growing and His name was reaching more and more people, He would disappear to go off and be alone and pray. Over and over again, He did this, and I wonder if He too, was teaching us what He wanted us to do and showing us the best example of how this looks in real life, in the midst of crazy busy days full of big things with a whole lotta stuff going on? I mean, if Jesus could do it, can’t we? I’m sure we are all in agreement that His work was far more significant than anything we must get done. But He walked away from it all to secluded places to find solace and commune with His Father alone when everyone was wanting and expecting more from Him. And still, His purpose was fulfilled, in God’s perfect way in God’s perfect time. Amazing, right?
When we are in the heat of our own hard work, building up some big dreams, or doing really great things, we can’t imagine stepping away from it all, to go be alone, seek solace and pray.
Wait, what? Take a break? Just drop everything? Disappear? How on earth could we do THAT?
Usually, this is when we want to ramp things up and run faster, work harder, and keep gaining momentum in our race to the top of whatever mountain we’re creating and climbing. There’s no time to rest no matter how tired we are, we are laser-focused, under pressure and not giving in, not stopping one minute for fear of letting it all go and losing everything we worked so hard to achieve. We will not drop one of these balls we are grabbing and throwing and catching over and over again to succeed.
Or maybe it’s just a rainy cold Monday morning and you are bone-tired from everyday life and you don’t think you’ve earned that break; you can’t imagine allowing yourself to indulge in carving out a bit of space for what seems like selfish self-care. There’s just too much to do and you don’t want to get behind, and no one else has the luxury of such a thing either, so how dare you even entertain that idea. You would feel guilty, lazy, unproductive, and downright greedy.
This sacred time of restoration was modeled for us and commanded to us for a reason.
And if this profound practice is embedded in Their story, I believe we are called to build it into ours. And if we take our Heavenly Father at His word, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We MUST rest.
Ah, hallelujah! What a relief!
We were given direction on exactly what to do during all those times we’ve longed to shut down and allow ourselves to be replenished, resuscitated, and restored. Responding to all those moments of sheer exhaustion and utter depletion and finding rest for our weary bodies and our weary souls was actually imparted to us from the very beginning. We have just been denying ourselves part of God’s great design in who we are and how we were born to live. How tragic!
Of all the gifts He’s blessed us with and of all the things He demands of us, this is the ONE I would most appreciate, the one I would relish in the most.
So why not take Him up on this?
And so, I will receive this instruction our great Teacher taught us and use it well.
Maybe we could all learn to embrace rest as a holy necessity, and remind ourselves over and over again that our God wants this for us, He actually expects it from us. Because the good Lord knows, we desperately need it for ourselves. And perhaps we can faithfully trust that when we take that much-needed break from it all, everything will get done in God’s perfect way and in God’s perfect time, just as He had planned long ago.