Needing Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

  • Matthew 11:28-30

”After a long, frustrating day at work, we all know what it is to crave rest.  Whether we use our muscles or brains on the job, we know what it is to be worn out.
”But people wear out spiritually, too.  When we don’t make it to church for a couple of weeks, even if we had imperative reasons why we couldn’t make it, the wear and tear of our spirits can begin to show.  Or perhaps we’ve been faithful in a ministry, but it hasn’t left us much time to relax, and our bodies are beginning to tell us that we have overdone it.
“We need to use some sense when we’re tired. …
“Jesus also tells us to come to Him when weariness floods our souls.  We can do that in many ways.  More time than usual in prayer or personal Bible study may help.  Or perhaps we can benefit from listening to a special Christian speaker or reading an encouraging book.  Whatever we need for refreshment and wherever we turn, our focus needs to be on God.  When we drink deeply at His well, the energy will begin to flow.”

  • Pamela McQuade, Daily Wisdom to Satisfy the Soul

When I first read this devotion, I was too tired to write down the page number for reference in the future, but somehow, I remembered, about a week later.  I think God wanted me to remember the page number and remember to rest.

Now that I am back from my nap…

No, really, I got to this point in writing, and it was about noon.  I felt tired and hungry.  I fixed a salad, ate it, and then sat down to read, waking up a little later, kind of a power nap.  If I had gotten more sleep, I would probably be groggy about now.

But isn’t it odd that we know the warning signs when we get sleepy or hungry, but when we are spiritually off center, we seem to miss the signs?  There are signs.  We just miss them.  We might become more susceptible to temptation or even giving in to temptation, but that sign is the warning sign that we have gone way too far afield.  Like the feeling of hunger, have you ever felt hungry for God, but God was just beyond your grasp?  Could that be that God was calling, but you were too far away to bother listening.

I observed our boys playing not far from the house, many years ago.  They were being good, but then their mother called for them to come in for supper.  I could hear her clearly.  They were further away.  I might have been fooled that they just did not hear, except…  There might have been wind between me and the boys.  There could have been noise from beyond the tree line past the boys.  But no, the boys stopped, lifted their heads and turned their heads toward the house.  They paused in their play for a few seconds before resuming.  I let them play for another minute or so before I yelled for them to come in for supper.  They turned and saw me.  They realized that they could not lie about not hearing me when we were making eye contact, but when their mother asked why it took them so long, they lied to her, saying that they did not hear her call.  Maybe they heard her but did not understand what she had said – even then, that showed not respecting her enough to go running home, just to find out what she wanted.  That was one moment when I allowed them grace.  The food was still warm.  They should have run to the house and asked, but …

But do we miss those inner voices at times because we are just too busy?

Sometimes, it is a lack of any communication.  When we go through the motions to pray and we get silence in return…  When we read ten chapters in the Bible instead of our usual three chapters because we have not read in many days, we might read so quickly that our brain does not comprehend anything that our eyes saw on the pages.  That is a natural response, even when reading the latest mystery novel, but was there a voice asking why we got nothing out of our Bible reading?  That absence of that voice can be a sign.

The quoted devotion was written years ago, but it is appropriate today under the limited church attendance due to COVID-19.  I talked with the facilities manager for the church and he says that the church averages about 25% of the allowable COVID-responsible capacity, and that is far below a normal weekly attendance for either of the two morning worship services.  The service is still being livestreamed, but attendance is extremely low.

So, are we missing that sign that says that we need to attend?  Are we missing a sign that says that our prayer life needs work, or our Bible study time is pathetic?  As far as those two activities are concerned, I find them both restful.  I can rest physically, and my mental exercise seems to be on a different level than when researching for a post or writing and editing.  Bible study is very relaxing.  And when you start listening to God’s voice, there seems to be a physical power that accompanies the voice.  My batteries seem to recharge faster.

God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them in six days and then he rested on the seventh day.  We should do the same for our physical and mental well-being, but also for our spiritual well-being.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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