Have you ever heard God talking to you? I mean, the clear realization that He’d been whispering in your ear but you just hadn’t been listening?
In my last post I shared with you that my family had some struggles going on. We’d had weeks of worry, but in the end, the Lord gave us blessings. My sister received medical results that she did not have cancer. Melanoma was found on my husband’s arm, but the doctor successfully removed it and reported that there was no sign it had spread. I’m so thankful to God for His gifts…
But I’m so tired…
The last few weeks I’ve been listening to the bible on my way to and from work. The Old Testament is tough to digest. So many lists of family lineage, rules, and regulations, what to eat and what not to eat. And it’s incredibly difficult for me to see the relevance of some of the early books of the bible to my life today. But as I was making my way through the book of Exodus, I found my mind would perk up at certain parts of the text.
When the Lord gives the people manna to eat as they wander in the wilderness, He instructs them to only collect enough for each day and not to keep more than they need. The Israelites, not trusting God, of course, disobey and find their manna becomes moldy and nasty on the second day, so they learn to only collect what they need. But, then Moses says:
“This is what the LORD commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the LORD. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.”Exodus 16:23
And once again, some of the Israelites didn’t listen and they go out on the seventh day but find no manna. And the Lord asks Moses why his people don’t listen to Him. Why don’t they realize that:
“the Sabbath is the LORD’s gift to you.”Exodus 16:29
The next day at work my boss and I were discussing his going into the office on the weekend and I pointed out to him that the Lord has given us a command and a gift of rest. While he agreed, he insisted the weekend is a good time for him to get caught up and ready for the next week. (As an aside, I’m incredibly fortunate to work for someone who shares my faith and with whom I can talk about Christ on a daily basis. I’m so grateful.)
A few days later, the theme rose again in the scripture as I was driving. The Lord, unhappy with the Israelites, tells them He will send His angel to lead them to the Promised Land because they are so stubborn and rebellious that He cannot be in their presence. Yet Moses pleads with the Lord, asking who He will send and reminding the Lord that the Israelites are His very own people.
Of all the assurances the Lord might give us why was it so important for Him to say that He would give us rest? Why was the first command he trained the Israelites to remember was the day of rest?
Even then in the New Testament, Jesus speaks of this very gift:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”Matthew 11:28
We’d been planning a trip to the Austin area to do a living history event. My husband was so excited about it and had been preparing and planning for weeks. But I’m prone to travel anxiety, so I built myself internally into a frenzy. Still, the trip went well. We had a wonderful getaway and received the added blessing of spending time with a cousin who’d practically grown up with me. He and his bride-to-be hosted us in their home and we were able to do a great deal of bonding. What a blessing!
But I was so tired!
And I became grumpy.
And I became a poor employee because of it…
I became a snippy wife because of it…
I became not entirely a nice person because of it…
Yes, although I was tired, I was feeling anxious because I had so much to do… a house to clean… taxes to finish… books to write… business planning to catch up on…
Rest was not an option.
Rest made me feel guilty.
Rest made me feel like a slob.
Rest made me feel I was not doing my job…
… but if our first job, our first command is to follow the Lord our God, then isn’t rest part of my job?
Why do we live in a society where rest is considered a sin? Where we’re always connected to our emails and texts? Where we’re always going?
God has been speaking to me in a simple word.
This isn’t a call to be lazy. This isn’t a call not to work or take care of my family. This isn’t that at all. This is the acceptance that rest is necessary. That God has given us this because the only way to fulfill all that He asks of us is to take a moment, to breathe Him in, to let go of all else, and just be… just be in His presence to accept His precious gift.
And accepting that gift is about trusting Him. Because we have to believe, just like the Israelites did that God will provide, even if we take time to rest. That the things that need to get done, will get done in their time if we take the time to rest. And in today’s world, that is an incredibly difficult thing to trust.
But God has a gift for you today, my friend. And that gift is rest…
If you’d like to listen to the bible too, I’ve discovered a wonderful podcast to recommend. Check out Bible: Beginning to end along with lots of other wonderful resources on our FOR YOUR FAITH JOURNEY page.