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.
Biblical Rest is To Come
It’s an eternal reward for believing in God and doing His work.
For only we who believe can enter his rest.
God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God.
Hebrews 4:9-10, MSG
So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.
Rest is the opposite of work, and it’s what comes when we’re depleted so we can be restored again. It just makes sense that the hard work of believing and living out our faith is going to be rewarded. I love the translation of verse 9 above, where it says this is “a special rest still waiting”. We haven’t experienced this kind of rest yet, and it’s not the everyday kind of niceties we’re used to. It’s beyond what we know. And it sounds pretty good to me.
Resting in God is Better Than Hygge
There’s a small part of me that wishes just the teensiest that there was a verse in there about hygge, or leggings, or warm beverages and reclining sofas. But I’m kidding myself, because those things don’t even scratch the surface of what God has for me. I might light a candle and wear slippers today, but my real reward has a soul-level depth.
There isn’t a formula for getting the peace and relaxation you need. But here are some tips and ideas for learning to rest in God.
- Take breaks to pray throughout your day, even if they are only a few seconds long.
- Grab a journal and write in it.
- Read a Christian book about rest. I highly recommend the devotional Whispers of Rest.
- Meditate on a single verse (like the one in the free printable below).
- Practice gratefulness.
- Start to intentionally cultivate a peaceful heart and atmosphere in your home.
- Take moments to enjoy rewards from your hard work.
Simply put: God’s here, and you can relax.
This article originally appeared at Fantasticallyfour.com.