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26 March – Settle down!

To Rest. Something that most of us aren’t particularly accomplished at. The Hebrew word used in the bible for rest is “nuach”, meaning to rest, settle down, to be soothed or quieted.

God says, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14) It’s no accident that God created the world and then had a day of rest. He created rest, and He created mankind in His image to desire times of rest and enjoyment.  Unfortunately we often don’t live our best lives, and our own desires, fears, inadequacies, and striving can inhibit that “nuach” (true rest), God created us for.

We get things out of balance so easily. Either people pursue rest to the point of laziness, or we refuse to rest to the point of exhaustion and illness. Either way,  true rest eludes many.

In an age where we have developed time saving technology in an effort to save time and money, why is it that so many people are burnt out, depressed, exhausted, and restless? Many of us even claim to be too busy to rest.

Is it rather that we don’t lack time, but instead need to discover what true rest is? Is it that we don’t need another time saving gadget, but rather to discover the rest of Jesus?

What does the person playing video games or watching show after tv show, have in common with the person who works nonstop at having their home or yard perfect and/or spotlessly clean? Both are looking for true rest. One in the inactivity of the tv or computer, the other trying to achieve rest in activity. Neither at the end of the day will be fully satisfied or at rest.

Sin has caused an imbalance. It has distorted rest. We often either lead restless lives driven by countless hours of work and ambition, or we withdraw into laziness.  Many fear stopping, because in stopping  we must face our deepest thoughts, pain and fears.

None of this is the joy-filled rest, or “nuach” that God planned for us. As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 6:1-7, we accumulate all the things we could possibly desire, yet we are unable to find satisfaction in it. We cannot enjoy fully what we have, because we haven’t discovered lasting joy and rest in God.

Jesus calls us to come to Him and enter the rest He gives. He says cease from our constant toil and labour and take on His ways,  which are not burdensome. (Matthew 11:28) This rest is a rest that remains with us whether the circumstances  are wonderful or terrible. That sort of rest in Jesus is not dependent on circumstances. It is personal and is a result of being accepted, forgiven, loved, and protected. It’a a rest which comes with the knowledge and discovery of who we are in Jesus. It frees us to enjoy life right now.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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”. (Matthew 11:28)

How will you respond to Jesus? He asks us to come and rest.

Some of us may need to respond by making time to pursue the joy of God’s creation and all He has created for us to enjoy. We may simply need to take some time out. Others may need to ask forgiveness for trying to find rest and satisfaction in constant activity, the striving for order and perfection, or accumulation of possessions.

Whatever the case may be, take some time today and seek to enter His rest.

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