Rest Before West


Wrestling with Rest

“Summer rest” is an oxymoron in the purest sense. While summer vacations offer sabbaticals from the demands of work or school schedules and the grind of obligation overload, they are packed with travel, visits, company, outdoor living, and camps from archery to zoo-life.  Wiping sweat from our brow, we take a deep breath and plunge into one activity after another, leaving behind a hammock swaying in the breeze whispering,  “Autumn is near.”

To be honest, I have loved summer because it brought kids, cookouts, and a crowded kitchen. But, I am in a season of life where I am learning to rest whether I want to or not. I have wrestled with rest. Who wants rest if it brings too much quiet and too little company?

Months ago our Pastor spoke about the importance of gazing at God rather than at our circumstances. Until the events of this summer, I didn’t realize how deep into my soul this wise word would dig. Everything I don’t want to happen is happening – the pool is empty, the house is quiet, my health keeps me restricted from activities like swimming and walking, and our days are all geared toward our 3-month trip west in our RV. I don’t want to pack – I want to play!

God has called me to rest this summer – to sit and read His Word, be quiet and listen to, draw deep into prayer, and gaze solely on Him. Have you wrestled with rest as I have? Jesus tells us to “abide in Me” (John 15) and He will abide in us, and as we know His Words, His Spirit will indwell in us and we will glorify His Father. But, first we must rest.

Like Jacob before he was given his new name of Israel I, too, wrestled with God this summer until He actually afflicted my hip and showed me how to prevail over the enemies of my soul. I have rested in God’s Word and I have seen His glory. The battle is over

How can we see God’s glory in our resting? This is more than napping, nestling up with a good book, or lounging on the sofa. When we rest in God and breathe deeply of His presence, we experience His peace. “…my peace I give to you.” (John 14:27) The troubles and distractions of the world cannot disturb us if we seek to know God through His Word. Having more time on my hands than I’d like  (truly orchestrated by God), I have begun to search for God’s glory rather than struggle with my situation. I have learned that God’s truths are eternal while circumstances are temporary; in every crises, Christ is; and the glory of God pulsates in His Word, is given to us through Christ, and shines in us by the Holy Spirit. God’s glory is in His peace!

While resting in the LORD doesn’t burn calories or let us romp with kids, it does restore our souls. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11: 28)

This rest is peace – peace within us no matter the crises or craziness. Jesus is the Prince of Peace in us. We have only to draw deep into our soul to find Him, lean heavily on His Word, and dwell in His abiding  “peace beyond understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)s

Prayer – Heavenly Father in You I rest. Thank You for stripping me of distractions and making me surrender to Your will. Thank You for Your Son who came to give us His peace – the peace that is so powerful and beyond understanding. Please forgive me for wrestling with You and now, Father, as I turn to You in rest, reveal to me more and more of Your Glory! Amen.