In a world of technology, busy schedules and unending “to-do” lists, some days I barely have time to catch my breath. I run around striving to “become” and accomplish but never take time to rest. I’m not talking about the 5-6 hours of rest we hope to grab each night so we don’t look like little monsters with dark circles under our eyes the next day. No, I’m referring to a rest that is only found in Jesus. A rest that will satisfy our emotional needs and gently cradle our soul. I have only begun to tap into what this glorious rest is all about. Don’t go through another minute of your busy, full day with assignments due, appointments to make and emails to send without considering how entering the rest of the Almighty will change your life.
My first encounter with the subject of rest happened accidentally on my part but quite providentially on God’s. He knew this was one truth I needed to learn and explore before beginning a new, so-crazy-I-don’t-know-how-I’m-gonna-do-it semester. College life is an adventure for sure. Every phase in life has its joys, challenges, blessings and roadblocks. It’s not easy to run this hard race, especially on the minimal hours of sleep us college students are lucky to get. However, God is aware of it all and quite active in our lives. He definitely brought me to my knees in praise and rejoicing as I learned of His gift to me. His rest.
I began my reading at the very beginning of the book of Hebrews and soon found myself re-reading chapter four, trying in vain to understand the verses printed in black ink. "I know there is something amazing and deep I should be seeing but why am I not comprehending it all?!" After lifting a prayer to the One who opens the eyes of a desperate mind and soul, and making a brief concordance search, I began a journey toward a beautiful realization of God’s mercy toward humanity.
Let me start off with a brief background of the text. As you recall, Israel walked around in the wilderness for approximately forty years as a result of their disbelief and disobedience to God. It was only the second generation of children who were given Canaan - the promised land. Canaan is a representation of this rest. The writer of Hebrews is warning us against our unbelief that will keep us away from this rest found only in Christ Jesus. Notice in verse one where it says “his rest." This is possessive. It means that true, fulfilling rest belongs to God and can only be found in Him.
This rest is far above anything we could ever achieve, even with the Tempur-Pedic® mattresses, relaxing afternoons at the spa or two-week vacations to the Bahamas. No, this rest is unique and completely necessary to our spiritual health. When we surrender our all - will, mind and emotions - to Him, He will supply our needs.
As MacArthur beautifully states in his commentary on Hebrews, “[Rest] means the end of trying to please God by our feeble, fleshly works. God’s perfect rest is a rest in free grace. Rest does not mean freedom from all nuisances and hassles; it means freedom from being so easily bothered by them. It means to be inwardly quiet, composed, peaceful.”
Resting in Christ means to trust. It's leaning on Him - the One who sustains all life. It's forsaking the worry and making a conscious decision to rest in who God is - His deeds and character. We are given the gift of stilling our souls before an all-knowing God who will quiet the spiritual chaos we often experience in a fallen world. It truly is a haven of rest. The only requirement for acquiring this rest is belief in God - in believing that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and repenting of our sins. It's a promise found when we surrender our lives to Him and become His children. Rest in Him.