by Tonya S. Swindell
When I found out “rest” is the theme for this month’s blog, my mind said, “Ahhhhhhhh rest …. I need some of that!!!!!” because I feel physically and spiritually tired. I feel physically tired because on most days my body could use more rest. Sometimes I also feel spiritually tired because of my own striving, or as I imagine it looks to God: like I’m anxiously shuffling my feet to start my own ministry. At those times I’m sure I must resemble Fred Flintstone, the cartoon character who used his own two feet to start his car every day! The driving force for ministry God gives me is designed to be fully dependent on Him, but it can never get full mileage if I start it through my own strength and will. My aim is to go where God wants me to go and do what God wants me to do, but I know that will require me to rest physically and spiritually.
Webster’s Dictionary defines “rest” as: “freedom from activity or labor; a state of motionlessness; peace of mind or spirit; free of activities.” Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28 – 30). He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth’ (Psalm 46:10). “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7). “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You“ (Isaiah 26:3). “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass” (Psalm 37:7).
My Daddy used to give a benediction at the end of his church services that was similar to: “Now may the grace of God, the love of Jesus and the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit rest, rule and abide now, henceforth and forevermore. Let the church say, Amen!” To have the grace of God, love of Jesus and sweet communion of Holy Spirit rest on me …. now that’s some good rest!!! Rest like that is supernatural and makes the deepest natural sleep seem like an unfulfilling nap that doesn’t even qualify as truly restorative rest!
My mind, will, and emotions need to recuperate just like my body does. Lord, help me to appreciate the Divine rest and peace you give as I trust You and learn what it feels like to “be anxious for nothing.” Ahhhhhhhh rest!