"Ma, in her kerchief and I, in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter's nap."
While I'm not sure what a long winter's nap means from The Night Before Christmas, sometimes it sounds enticing. Maybe not hibernating but that blanket of snow outside makes a warm blanket inside feel good.
Rest. Everyone needs it. Some work too hard trying to escape it, only to eventually crash, stay sickly or become workaholics. At creation God set aside the seventh day and called it holy. By example He led us to rest after work.
I was rehearsing our children's choir years ago. Most everything I share with you seems to have happened "years ago." Then again most of my life WAS years ago. Let's see...where was I? (Sometimes I miss my mind but I mostly do pretty well without it.) The children were learning a new song, He Is Exalted. They sang that phrase several times when it occured to me, "They may not know the meaning."
So I polled, "What does it mean He is exalted?"
Unsure, but bold enough to ask, one little boy timidly raised his hand. I nodded. He ventured, "Does it mean God is tired?" His dad was a farmer so he knew how exhausted they get.
God did rest after creation but not because He was tired.
Our firstborn absolutely hated naps. But I NEEDED Kimberly's nap! Most days found her resisting a rest! A battle usually ensued, followed by a spanking and eventually sleep...for us both. One day, finally conceding, she snubbed, "Mama, I was just thinkin'...naps are not as bad as hell!"
But pretty close in her curly, little head. I decided it might not be the best time to tell her about the alternative--heaven and eternal REST!
Rest does not always mean doing nothing. Eternal rest would be pretty boring if it did! To cease from one activity and focus on something else can describe rest, too.
TGIF kicks off that weekly pivot from labor to the weekend. The gears shift, folks get excited about their two days off.
Creation itself holds rhythms of life. Day yields to night in the cycle, seasons rotate, the ocean ebbs and flows, we breathe in and out. Even land needs rest to produce. Sabbath rest is a two-sided coin: cease from something to focus on something else. Now we're good at that ceasing part, except for the workaholics, but it tends to become a playground for fun and self, instead of renewal with God.
We need to sabbath (as a verb) daily, weekly, even annually. Our very biology calls for it because God built it into us. Science has found that people gain weight when they fail to sleep eight hours a night. These times of rest infuse us. Mentally, our brains reset and renew even as we sleep. They work better by morning. They even sort out and problem-solve during our sleep. We truly are "fearfully and wonderfully made."
Education affirms this need for rest in our bodies and minds, even for efficiency at work, as a whole. However, man seldom recogizes the spiritual need for refreshing, renewal, infusing of and by God. And that facet is why He declared one day to be holy. Going to church is not the whole duty of man to keep this commandment.
Do I rest in Him daily, cease from my To Do list long enough to hear and talk to Him, feed on His Word? Do I really set Sunday aside beyond the duties of church to focus my being on God? Is there a break in my year to retreat from the world and let Him fill me for kingdom work? These three rhythms are not automatically set within me to happen, though the need is embedded there. I have to be intentional, plan for them. My free will is involved.
But rest is not a void of nothingness. It's a fountain of life if we focus on the Giver of Life, that Living Water. Even as we sleep He "gives songs in the night" and prepares us for the day.
"Motion and commotion steal the soul but stillness restores the soul." One Month to Live by Kerry and Chris Shook
"He leadeth me beside the STILL waters. He restoreth my soul." (A busy King David in Psalm 23)
Resting in Him,