It is very quiet in the house. I can hear the cicadas buzzing outside. Hear a small airplane fly overhead. Hear the ticking of the clock on the wall. It feels restful. Life gets so busy that I don't usually have time to just sit here and 'be'. There is that saying, "You are a human being, not a human doing". I can relate to that. We get so caught up in all that needs to be done, we begin to feel that all is pressing and urgent and we forget to just take a moment and relax. Take time to just breathe in and out. To let our minds wander, not to our to do list, but just ponder life and truth and the fascinating world around us. Time to just rest.
God said in Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me all that labor and are heavy laden, and I shall give you rest". He did not say here that we would not labor or work, or even that our labor would be easy; He did say that even when we do strenuously exert ourselves we would still find rest. Most of us barely find time for sleep, let alone rest. And sleep can seem so far away on the nights that our minds won't stop thinking of all that we have waiting for us the next day. All the bills, all of the commitments, all of the drudgery ahead of us.
No, the rest that the Lord is talking about is different. It is like when you working hard on a hot day and you take a break to have a drink of ice cold water. That refreshing that comes from savoring that revitalizing draught.
But that invigoration is only temporary. It comes and goes so quickly, that soon you are just hot and sweaty again and in need of another drink. The rest that God is talking about is different. In the Hebrew that word rest means more than just a transitory interlude. That word means to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength, to give rest and refresh, to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation. It means that as we rest in Him, we are not harried or stressed or frantic. We become peaceful and calm and refreshed. We become, in the midst of our work able to breathe and focus and actually become more productive. That rest is promised to us as His children. When we enter into His love and His will, we enter into that rest. When we seek His mind and thoughts, we enter into that rest. When we walk the path that He has for us, no matter how arduous it may be at times, we enter into that rest. And that rest is a permanent thing, as long as we stay in His love, His will, His path. It becomes a never-ending drink of cold water, refreshing our spirits, minds, souls and bodies.
I am reminded of when Jesus met with the Samaritan woman. He sees her at the well and asks her for a drink of water. She wants to know why a Jew would want water from a Samaritan as they would normally not associate together. He says that if she knew who was asking for the drink and knew of the gift of God, that she would have asked Him and He would have given her living water. She wants to know what this living water is and how He will get it as He has no bucket to draw from the well. Isn't that just amazing. We can look at this in hindsight and say how could you not see who He was? But we often do the same. We forget what He came here for. To live and die and be resurrected, that we might partake of that living water. And just like that woman at the well, we will be told that if we take of this water, this living water, we will never thirst again. We will not only consume that water, but it will consume us. It will fill us to overflowing. It will bring life and rest and peace. It will bring healing and restoration. It will bring renewal and strength. As humans we cannot live for very many days without water. It is said usually three to five, but maybe as long as two weeks, depending on the circumstances. If we had the choice, we would not go a couple of hours without water. We know we need it, we know it refreshes us, we know it strengthens us. Why, oh why would we choose to go a minute without the living water that the Lord has for us. Why, once tasting and seeing that the Lord is good, would we not choose to rest in that goodness every minute of the day. To drink of that water that brings life and rest, to live refreshed in the midst of a stressful day, to show the world the peace and joy that comes from Him alone.
Take time to rest today, all day. Take the gift that He has given and cherish it to the point of not relinquishing it. Don't squander that gift for the sake of stress, frustration, irritability, anger, resentment or dissatisfaction. That is really a lousy trade for all the the Lord has for us.
So truly, that is the 'rest' of the story, the 'rest' of our story. The story of His undying love for us and His desire that we rest in Him.