When I saw this little baby resting in his father’s arms at a church service, this was a visual example (and reminder) of what it means to rest in the Lord.
Jesus says in the Bible verse, Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (NRSV)
We live in a society where rest is discouraged. Coming from the sales profession the motto is, “If you’re not out selling you’re being outsold.” Employees are rewarded for putting in that extra effort, showing up early and staying late.
Compared to the rest of the world, over half of Americans don’t use all their vacation time. Why? Per a Market Watch article entitled, 55% of American Workers Don’t Take All their Paid Vacation, the reasons are fear based. It’s the fear of falling behind and the fear of losing their job.
Jesus also said in John 15:11, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” How many of us walk around exuding joy?
The burdens of life easily weigh us down. There are financial concerns, health concerns, concerns for our family, our children. Our society also does not promote asking for help. Asking for help is a sign of weakness.
Stand on your own two feet.
God helps those who help themselves. (People actually think this is a Bible verse.)
If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.
These are all popular motivational quotes.
That’s not what the Bible is telling us. The Bible is telling us to, “Rest in the Lord.” Psalm 37:7
Have you ever been so tired that you couldn’t wait to fall into bed? On a trip to France, the jet leg and the aggressive schedule was exhausting. I suffer from migraines and ended up getting a migraine on the trip. This never happened to me before on vacation. After a jam-packed day, I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to rest. I fell into bed and could feel my body sinking into the mattress. What a relief to close my eyes and experience rest!
I never thought, what happens if the bed does not support me? What happens if the legs fall apart? I never questioned the bed. I trusted that when I laid down that I would be at rest.
That is what God wants us to do. To rest in him. To let go of our burdens and to let him carry them.
Rest is trust. Rest equals peace. Rest means quieting all our racing thoughts, worries, and concerns, and turning them over to God.
We all need rest to recharge and to be effective. If we don’t rest, we will experience burnout.
Many times, we will come to God in prayer and turn over our burdens. But when we resume our worldly duties, we pick up those burdens again. We don’t leave them behind.
Jesus certainly came to save us from our sins. He came that we may have eternal life. But he also came so that we would have an abundant life right here, right now. He said in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NRSV) He taught us that he would also save us from guilt. We’re not effective if we are carrying around a lot of guilt. We have been forgiven.
The next time that you are exhausted and fall into bed for your night’s sleep, be mindful of that feeling of complete surrender and trust. Savor the beauty of being still and enjoying that blissful state of rest. Then take that feeling of surrendering your burden to your waking state. There you will consistently understand what it means to rest in the Lord.