Rest Well – Week of July 20, 2020
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
She cried and cried and cried. As you sit by her, gently rubbing her back while singing softly, the room slowly becomes quieter until her last sniffle. As you look at her peacefully sleeping, it’s hard to imagine that this picture of tranquility was a bundle of fear and resistance only minutes ago. But your patient, calm response and gentle voice provided the reassurance she needed to let go and let sleep come.
Several hours later, you find yourself tossing and turning. Your day had several difficult moments that are hard to let go of as you try to fall asleep. The most difficult of all is the realization of the impact of your words, said in haste, that have wounded a colleague. Or, it might be the anxiety of not knowing if you are doing all you can to provide safe, loving care to the children you serve. Have you really done everything you can?
While your anxiety and that of the little girl may not sound the same, (hopefully you aren’t crying uncontrollably), the feeling of fear, guilt, or anxiousness can be very similar. As you lay there trying to both fall asleep and solve all your problems at the same time, you find no success in either.
“I will give you rest.” That sounds wonderful in the middle of the night. Does this rest mean a solid eight uninterrupted hours of restful sleep? No. Does it refer to that ever-elusive nap that you might dream about? No.
There is no greater peace than a relationship that is strong especially when that relationship is with God our Father. The peace that we have knowing that all those unkind words, those mistakes we’ve made, the selfish actions, the laziness, the pride are no longer barriers for our relationship with God. As God the Father looks at us, Jesus sits next to him and says, “I took care of all that they owe you.” This peace, this rest is indescribable. Jesus did it all. His journey to the cross and grave, removed every single sin. And on top of all that, he also promises that he is with us today, tonight, each day until he calls us home to him in heaven. We can trust him even more than that little girl trusted your gentle hand and soothing voice. We can be assured that while the troubles of each day will continue to come, our Lord is there. He’s there with a gentle but powerful word of reassurance, “I will give you rest.” Rest well in his grace, in his forgiveness, in his promises.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to reflect on the words of the hymn writer as a reminder of your comfort and reassurance to be my rest. In your name I pray, Amen.
“Come unto me, ye weary, and I will give you rest.”
O blessed voice of Jesus, which comes to hearts oppressed!
It tells of benediction, of pardon, grace, and peace,
Of joy that has no ending, of love that cannot cease.
Christian Worship 336:1
A Question to Consider: Someone recently told me that they keep a small notebook on their bedside table. When the challenges of the day start to disrupt their sleep, they write down what it is they are wrestling with. This is followed by a prayer that shares that concern with Jesus, asking for his help. They find that writing down the problem followed by a prayer, helps them put the concern aside and rest well.