I’m covered in a soft blanket, sitting next to a warm cup of coffee, listening to nothing but the sound of a clock ticking as my two kids nap. My sweet children are sleeping off their fevers, and we haven’t been healthy in weeks. I’ve lost sleep and peace of mind too. Nothing sounds better to me than some actual R&R. I bet you’re right there with me, because we all crave rest. But what is it? How much does it matter? Does it involve slippers?
Resting in God is Everything
I’m reading in the book of Hebrews every morning, and chapter four is all about rest. It turns out that it’s really important, on a theological and spiritual level. I had to sit up and pay attention when I saw that the gospel could be summed up with this one sentence:
God has prepared rest for us.
I know. I can hardly believe it myself. Here’s the verses I’m referring to…
God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news–that God has prepared this rest–has been announced to us just as it was to them.
What gets me really excited is that
- God gets how tired I am.
- He’s promised me rest.
- It’s good news.
And it’s really, really important. It’s so important that the thought of someone you know missing out on this should make you weak with fear.
Resting in God Defined
Even though I have a fresh dose of cold medicine and coffee in my system, my eyelids are heavy right now. How about you? Are you feeling tired, weary, worn down, and in desperate need of some rest? I know that we might be hoping for lots of catch-up sleep followed by a spa-like experience, but God doesn’t guarantee that.
Instead, there are two kinds of rest that chapter four talks about: The Now, and the Not Yet.
Biblical Rest is Now
It’s the sweet peace, amazing grace, and freedom we have in our salvation on a daily basis.
So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today.
I can’t even begin to tell you how glad I am that God says the time to rest in Him is today. The verses above are partly a call to obedience as well as a challenge to simply trust in Him right now. We can stop striving to be good enough, stop doing the right things to be saved or loved by God. Instead of working for approval, we can find a deep-seated peace and a place to be refreshed, even when we’re taking care of toddlers.
I know what this is like, because here are some of the things I’ve said to my son while he was sick.
- “I’ve got you.”
- “I’m here. Just relax.”
- “This will help you feel better.”
- “Don’t run around. Just rest.”
And those are the things that I imagine God says to me, too, each and every day. Our burdens are heavy, but Jesus makes them light instead.