Taking Time to Rest in Jesus

Psalm 16:8-10

I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my 
heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

Many of us are dreaming of “getting away” like never before as we have been extensively confined to our homes because of Covid-19. We might long for disappearing from daily life and enjoying family actives together as the summer quickly approaches— hikes in the mountains, bike trails, fishing, boating, or even simple walks down the sidewalks of Holyoke.

The problem is that we can intentionally carve out time in our schedules to get away but never actually find rest. Peace can escape us, and often does during the summer season. If you could find peace and rest from your weariness, what would that look like?

King David describes the kind of rest that God desires for His people to have throughout their life and not just for a summer trip. We can drive hundreds of miles, fly across an ocean, and spend thousands of dollars but still not find rest if we are not careful. The kind of rest God desires you to have cannot be found by your GPS. Amazon’s Alexa will not help either.

The rest that God desires you to have this summer can only be found in Christ. King David describes the focus of his eyes. They are fastened on the Lord. He says that he will not be shaken nor will he eternally suffer, no matter what his days would bring. The road to rest that David is describing produces confidence in the present and hope in the future.

The Hebrew word for “rest” in this passage means to “settle down, to abide, or to dwell.” What David found is that there is a road to rest when we relinquish ourselves to God’s loving leadership in our life. When we lead a life without rest, we are actually diminishing God’s goodness and trustworthiness to lead our lives, but when we live under the Lord’s reign over us, we demonstrate his supremacy over us: that he has superior motives, abilities and qualifications to lead us.

Resting in the arms of Christ is a place where we can be at home with ourselves and with God. It is a place where we can freely unload our anxieties, admit our weaknesses and share our desires. It is a place where we can relinquish control and experience the freedom and nourishment of God’s grace. It is a place where we find acceptance solely based on what redemption in Christ has accomplished in us and not worry about the pressure of whether we have performed well enough or not.

As summer comes, one of the greatest gifts we have is the ability to rest in Christ, to confidently fall into the arms of his leadership over our circumstances. For some of us, this can be one of the busiest times of the year. However, even through the hustle we can find opportunities to rest through the chaos.

This summer we might be up early working the land, harvesting crops, or preparing meals for those who are going out into the field. When the sun comes up, we can find rest through prayer as we commit our day to Christ. We can find rest by listening to or reading the Scriptures to be reminded of God’s grace and goodness and his plans for our life. We can find rest by playing worship songs and meditating on God’s promises.

God desires for us to rest this summer and all year long through both the hustles and seemingly endless lulls in life. That rest come when we cast ourselves into the arms of Christ. In Matthew 11:29, Jesus said, “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.”

The fact is that we are living through a time when there is greater urgency to rest. Isn’t that ironic? That there is urgency to rest? Covid-19 is still a virus and it still is causing harm to many people. And whether we think it is a legitimate threat or not, the secondary stresses, fears and uncertainties that have resulted underline an even greater need to put ourselves into the yoke of Christ.

Jesus can carry us through during times of loss— lost lives, lost jobs, lost retirement accounts, lost income, lost health, lost friendships. All of these are losses that can weigh on us and keep us down that have been magnified during this global pandemic.

The greatest activity you can do for yourself and your family is to take advantage of the many opportunities to rest in Jesus— whether that is on your back patio, on the seat of a tractor watching the sun rise or set, or after you tell your loved ones goodnight. Take regular opportunities to be reminded of your value in Christ and his purpose for you. Remind your spouse. Remind your children. Remind your neighbors. Remind your friends.

Wherever your journeys take you this summer, be sure to make one of your regular destinations a place and time to rest with Jesus.