What is rest? Is it just a well-deserved and greatly desired nap on a Sunday afternoon? Is it that magnificent week that you spend at the beach every year? Is it the opportunity to put your feet up after a long day of shopping?
It might be those things—but it is actually much more than all of that combined!
God created our bodies for a six-day cycle of work followed by a day of restorative rest. He created animals for rest as well. Did you know that God even took a day of rest after He had created the world in which we live? If God needed to rest, I have a feeling that your body demands it and deserves it as well!
"On the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He had rested from all His work which He had created and made" (Gen. 2:2-3).
If God gave Himself a break, so should you. You are not stronger or more adequate than God is. God created your body, soul and even your spirit to require periods of refreshing from the onslaught of "Do this! Do that! This must be accomplished! This has to be repaired! This ... This ... This!"
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
Rest is not found in binge-watching a series on Netflix, nor is it discovered at the spa. Rest is found when you come to the Lord with your problems, your trials and your schedule and you lay it all at His feet. Rest is found wherever He is. Rest is the quiet confidence that He exudes to all who will take the time to respond to His call to "Come."
Oh! How I love the definition that I have found concerning the meaning of this poignant and powerful word, "rest." Are you ready to be rested and strengthened and to recover from the damage that your busy schedule has thrown upon you?
"To cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength."
When you choose to come to Him, the Lord offers you the sweet opportunity to cease from movement and from labor. Aren't you ready for that? Aren't you ready to lay everything that causes you stress at His feet? But it is not in the ceasing alone that you find your rest—it is when you collect your strength in His presence. Of course you would find strength in His presence! Strength is there because joy is there! "In His presence is fullness of joy" (Ps. 16:11) and "the joy of the Lord is your strength!" (Neh. 8:10).
Do you see this beautiful progression that happens? My heart is in my throat and I can barely sit on my chair as I realize what happens when I come to Him! Let me explain it to you in chronological order.
1. I come to Him.
2. He speaks to the busyness in my life and says, "Stop!"
3. I experience the joy of His presence.
4. The joy of His presence strengthens me.
5. I am rested and have recovered from the busyness!
It's only in coming to Him that you have any chance of all of living a stress-free life. Even within the onslaught of a detailed daily existence, you can have His peace when you determine to come to Him. Doesn't that sound like a perfectly lovely invitation?
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written 10 books, including The Rooms of a Woman's Heart; Defiant Joy!;Holy Estrogen!; No More Ordinary; Refined; Joy For All Seasons; Let There Be Joy!; Pass the Joy, Please!; Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue; and Stormproof, which releases on March 1, 2019. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at carolmcleodministries.com.
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