Today, as I conclude this short series on spiritual graces, I invite you to sit with me and hear God’s invitation to delight: rest.
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Rest for some is playing with God in the sand.
It sounds so kind, so gentle, so — well, restful.
Come to me…
all who labor
and are heavy-laden…
[are you identifying with this yet?]
and I will give you rest.
- It is a lullaby sung over a child in warm footie pajamas.
- It is a friend waving to us from across the street, inviting us to come have coffee.
- It is a gold-embossed invitation from the prince to the coronation ball.
Jesus, the lover of our souls, beckons us, and what I’m wondering is why, with an invitation like this – we resist rest.
Rest, menuach, according to the Hebrew, expresses more than just an absence of activity. Its purpose is to celebrate life and joy, to languish in the peace God lavishes, to imagine the days to come when there will be no more tears.
For Christians, it is a rich feast to remember that Christ has loved us and offered the perfect sacrifice that allows us to cease striving and know that all is well. It is a taste of the feast to come, when we will gather around a table in peace with those we’ve loved and hated in life, finally reconciled, finally restored.
So why don’t we rest? So many reasons, but today let’s just consider one:
Rosie-dog dares to risk rest — with frequency:-)!
It’s too risky.
- What if we lie down but can’t go to sleep?
- What if we dress up for the ball and the Prince ignores us?
- What if Jesus was waving to someone else?
He couldn’t have meant me. He couldn’t really mean I can stop laboring.
- I know I need to have better quiet times for God to want to spend time with me.
- If Jesus really knew who I am, he’d never ask me to the ball.
- And if I go for coffee, it will be tense because I’m so disappointed in God right now.
Isn’t it better to just keep moving, stirring the noise, in case there is no song to be heard in the silence of rest?
It’s risky. Really, who has that kind of gumption?
But there’s some good news here. You knew there had to be, right?
Here’s a little interesting tidbit. The word in the Greek literally means to “cause to rest.” Jesus isn’t just offering us rest. He’s making us rest. Because he knows our hearts. He knows we struggle with sin, and fear, and shame, and pride. He knows we don’t think we deserve a break unless we’ve earned it. And he knows we’ll never earn it. That’s why he died. For our sin. So we could rest — from the guilt, the sin, the shame.
Stop. Do you hear him? He’s singing to you.
Come to me. All you who labor. [Do you labor?]
All who are heavy-laden [What burdens, doubts, fears, shame are you carrying?].
I have made it possible for you to rest.
I will bring you to the ball because you can’t bring yourself.
Now for the dare:
Step away from the computer. Go somewhere or stay right where you are. Do you hear the singing? Do you see the couple dancing? Will you go sit with Jesus? It’s terrifying, but it’s true. God delights in you, and Jesus is causing you to rest in that.