Who knew that the way to get overwhelmed is to rest?
That probably sounds backwards. But it is the truth.
I spend a lot of time complaining about my relationship with God. It is a big part of us. If he was anything less than perfect, he may complain about me too! What I have slowly (very slowly) started to realize, though, is that the more I complain about God, the less time I spend actually communicating with God. I know that sounds completely obvious. That’s because it is.
I recently “got in the Word” with one of my friends. That’s Christian lingo for, “I did a Bible study with someone.” If you’ve never done this with anyone before, it can be a little intimidating. I have gotten deep and spiritual with people before and it’s still intimidating to me. But God calls us to do these sorts of things, so I obliged.
I wanted to do a word study on the word “rest,” because that’s something that I have no clue how to do. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to lay on my couch and watch Netflix for eight hours straight, but I don’t know how to rest. It’s hard for me to even define what that word means in regards to Jesus. I guess I should think about it the same way that I would “regular” rest. It’s completely necessary; without it, I suffer.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [Matthew 11:28]
Jesus is promising us that he is the giver of rest. That sounds delightful, right? You see, when we are laboring and when our ladens are heavy (haha), we can’t find rest. I get so caught up with trying to keep everything under my control. It’s like I am doing some sort of weird balancing act in the circus, except I’m a terrible clown and I drop everything and it all breaks and then people throw tomatoes at me and I get fired. You would think, after failing at this whole balancing act time after time, that I would learn to stop trying to control everything. This brings me back to the verse in Isaiah that stumped me a few weeks ago:
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast sure love for David. [Isaiah 55:2-3]
This passage is not about working harder, or working at all. God is asking us the question, “WHY?” Why am I laboring, period? He tells us that there is wine, milk, food, and everything that we could desire. For free. No labor necessary. Especially after pointless things that mean nothing for eternity. God calls us to rest in this passage in Isaiah, just like Jesus calls us to rest in Matthew. That is literally all we have to do. Rest in his grace.
My thirsty soul can find rest in Jesus, the conquerer of my sins. It’s beautiful to think about a perfect, calming peace such as that. And it’s impossible for me to not get excited about it. It’s completely overwhelming in an amazing way. To know that something like this perfect, restful peace is attainable makes me want to shout for joy (but I shouldn’t, because I’m sitting in Starbucks).
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. [Zephaniah 3:17]