Rest: Part 4

When you need rest from this harried world, retreat to your Savior in his Word.

James D. Roecker

How much sleep do you need? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best. For younger adults (18-25), the recommended sleep range is also seven to nine hours per night. I wonder if their recommendation matches reality.

The reality is that not everyone gets enough sleep. We live in a culture that chronically overworks. We are a generation of exhausted people. And most of the time we realize it is bad for us. Yet we are always on the go, filling our schedules to the maximum. The to-do list seems endless. Rest eludes us.

Rest can also be elusive for college students. Often there is just not enough time for sleep. College schedules get busy rather quickly. The academic year can be rigorous all by itself. But many students participate in intramural sports. Others play on the collegiate-level athletic teams. Some are involved in two or more student organizations. Part-time jobs can be thrown into the mix as well. Study time is important too, but so is time for fun and socializing. All of a sudden something fills every minute of every day. Exhausting! Coffee, really any caffeinated drink, becomes king. The National Sleep Foundation’s recommended seven to nine hours of sleep is just that, a recommendation.

Eventually, the question needs to be asked: “Is this current pace sustainable?” Lack of sleep can lead to distress physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. Maybe sleep deprivation causes you to become a totally different person, a person you might not like as much as your normal, rested self.

But there’s an app for that.

Jesus, as true human, was not immune to exhaustion or getting tired. He also recognized the benefits of withdrawing to solitary places to pray and recharge before returning to his redemptive mission. After some disciples reported John’s beheading to Jesus, we are told this: “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place” (Matthew 14:13). The crowd followed him. After landing the boat on shore, Jesus had compassion on the crowd, healed the sick that were there, and miraculously fed the large crowd. But then Jesus took time to rest. “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone” (Matthew 14:23).

Our to-do lists are not going to say: “Be the Savior of the world.” Jesus has already accomplished our salvation through his work as Savior while he lived on this earth. He lived perfectly in our place, suffered the agony of the world’s—including your and my—sins on the cross of Calvary, and rose victoriously from the dead.

So when you need rest from this harried world, retreat to your Savior in his Word. Be refreshed by the living and enduring Word of God. Sleep soundly and securely knowing that your God will never abandon you and will wake you with the morning light if that is his will. Jesus has said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He keeps his promises and will give you spiritual rest in this life and in your eternal life in heaven.

James Roecker, pastor at Divine Word, Plover, Wisconsin, does campus ministry work at UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

This is the fourth article in a six-part series on life apps the Bible has given Christians.


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Author: James D. Roecker
Volume 103, Number 11
Issue: November 2016

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