Wonder-full Rest

Finding rest in everyday life — troubles to triumph and everything in between.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 ESV

The elusive nature of rest.

Rest. It’s a rare commodity in a busy demanding world where everything depends on us.

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Physical rest. Sleep — a good night’s sleep — generally results from a good day’s work and a mind at peace. But not even complete physical exhaustion guarantees a much needed night of rest. 

Sleep eludes us when our spirit stirs from a day gone wrong. Anxieties. Agitations. Frustrations. Heart and mind swirling with internal strife fuel our dreams in nightmarish fashion.

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Tossing. Turning. Twisted covers. We wake exhausted still.

The roots of rest.

Rest. Peace. Joy. They go together. One leads to another.
Without peace there is no rest.
Without rest there is no joy.
Times of rest are times of joy.
Peace too fuels joy.

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No work to do.
Rest.

No worries to tend to.
Peace.

No woes to mourn.
Joy.

So why is rest so elusive? 

It all starts with a story. Our genesis story. Our beginning. How far we’ve strayed from it. How much we’ve forgotten.

The origin of rest.

Once upon a time, the Most High Supernatural Force whose name is Love chose to create a vast complex living universe as a home for the ones He would form in His image in order to share His love.

And so, He set about creating in His awesome power through His Word.

He said:
Let there be light and darkness.
And there were days.
Let there be land and water.
And there was geography.
Let there be seedbearing plants — fruitful and multiplying.
And there was botany.
Let there be sun, moon, and stars.
And there were seasons.
Let there be living creatures filling the air, sea, and skies.
And there was zoology.
Let there be someone for Us to love.
And there was man.

Our Creator in His wisdom, from this one man brought forth both male and female. Two who would become one and reflect His singular nature as love. A Triune Being, Three-In-One: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

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And He placed them in a special garden. One in which they rested in the Creator’s presence, and worked with joy. All of life was rest-full because of their right relationship with Him. They lived in perfect peace.

Becoming rest-less.

One day, a trouble-maker entered into this rest-full garden. A serpent whose forked-tongue spoke only lies. Lies making the man and woman, the first family, doubt all God said. 

The liar caused them to doubt God’s goodness and all they knew about Him. The snake dared them to take charge of their lives, define for themselves the parameters of good and evil: That’s where real living begins!

One bite later — one for the woman and one for the man — shame. guilt. restlessness. dis-ease. death. entered the garden. And instantly — within a nanosecond! — infected all creation…

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Nothing was the same.

Our rest-less story.

Many centuries later, this is where we find ourselves. Rest-less. Locked out of the garden because we fell for a lie and rebelled against the Creator. 
We’ve forgotten He is good.
We’ve forgotten we were His idea.
We’ve forgotten He is Love.
We’ve forgotten He created us to find rest in relationship with Him.

Believing we are responsible for our own well-being — for life, for security, for deliverance — we are miserable. 
Blinded to the truth we suffer anxiety, fear, depression.
Deaf to His call to return, the world keeps us awake with its worries.

This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its paths, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not what we want!’ …”

Jeremiah 6:16 NLT
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What flows in and out of our lives is directly related to our relationship with God. This is what was established in the beginning. This is the truth we’ve lost.

The spirit of rest.

Our rest-less state is a spiritual issue. Whether it’s emotional, relational, mental, or physical, the inability to rest starts with the state of our heart.

When we are at odds with our loving Creator, and out of sync with His ways, everything becomes work. Wearisome work.

But when we are in right relationship with Him, understanding who He is and who we are before Him, our eyes open to His grace and faithfulness. His love and care. Then all of life becomes a wonder. A place to rest in His Sovereignty and goodness. No matter whether we are in a time of triumph or trouble.

All of life becomes a joy!

Even a day away where rain delays and sick children bring all things to a stand still. Time together, remembering His presence, becomes a place of rest-full joy.

Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 NIV

Rest-full trust.

Returning to a right relationship with Him, begins with trust.
It begins with resting in who He says He is.
Trusting His plans and purpose are good and fueled by love and compassion.
Trusting His presence with you no matter what situation you are facing.

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When we trust the One whose name is Love.
Life’s daily inconveniences, hurts, and disappointments. 
Colossal calamities like hurricanes, earthquakes, riots, and pandemics.
All can be a place of rest.
Peace-full. Joy-full. Wonder-full rest.

The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.

Psalm 145:9 NKJV

He is a good God in charge of ALL things.
Nothing happens without His say so.
And all He allows is to draw people — whom He loves desperately — back to Himself. Back to their beginning away from the lies. Back to a place of peace-full, joy-full, rest in Him and with Him.

But know this. He won’t let us find rest apart from Him, because there is none.
He even went to great lengths to make a gracious Way for us to return to Him.
He did all the work and gives it to us as a gift.
The only thing we need do to return to a state of rest is trust Him.
Receive what He gives and trust His goodness and grace, His love and care, as we did in the beginning.

A rest-full dare.

Try it for yourself. I dare you. Begin in whatever way you can to trust He is, and is good, and loves you to no end.

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Maybe it begins with a prayer. Maybe just a heart and mind open to a desire for truth. Maybe it begins with opening a Bible to find out who He is from His own Word. Maybe it begins with an experiment, trusting Him for just one day.

But I’ll warn you. The liar still lurks. The snake who wants you to doubt and die, and miss out on the real life found with the One whom he hates, is spewing his venomous deception in and through the world. It will be a struggle. There may be more sleepless nights along the way. But the blessings far outweigh the fight.

Return to your beginnings. 
What you know to be true.
There is Someone greater.
Who loves you.
Who created an elaborate wonderful world for you to live in and find Him.
Who made you to live a life of rest and peace and joy!

Again, I dare you. What do you have to lose? Another night’s sleep?

Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say…
I have God’s more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day
Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,
For you, God, have put my life back together.
Psalm 4:6-8 The Message


Reflect.

Do you find rest to be elusive? physically? emotionally? mentally? relationally? How does rest elude you?

Is rest something you long for? How are you trying to find rest? Is it working for you?

Consider whether you are willing to take the dare. What stirs in your heart? what emotions rise? Will you try trusting Him?

Praying you will come to know the One who is Rest.

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