Baseball cards and Lego sets. These are the typical answers I expect after asking my young son why he wants to go on the computer to the Amazon shopping website. Imagine my surprise when one day, after he asked to go on this website and I asked why, he replied, “I need some vitamins.” Excuse me? Vitamins? I told him, “Don’t worry about getting that on Amazon. Itake care of the vitamins.”
I imagine a similar conversation could take place between me and the Lord when I try to handle things on my own, with my limited understanding and resources, all the while becoming more worried, agitated, and stressed. “Don’t worry about that. I take care of that.” Can you relate?
What a good reminder the psalmist’s words are, found in Psalm 116:7, “Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” In looking at how bountifully the Lord has dealt with us, His amazing grace, His unfailing love, His kindness and compassion, is there any reason our soul should not be at rest? And yet we probably are very familiar with what a woman not at rest is like: she is agitated, distressed, disturbed, upset, and worried. Contrast that with a woman who is at rest: she has peace of mind, she is free from anxieties.
Rest can also mean “to trust.” Simply put, when we rest (trust and remain confident) in the Lord, we will find rest (peace and freedom from anxieties).
We can very much be Jesus-loving women and yet not experience rest. The cares of this world, the challenges facing those we love, and our own personal concerns can, at times, cause us to forget His gracious care towards us. Oh let us be reminded of His faithfulness, how much He loves us, and what good care He takes of His children!
The founder and early writer of the famous pocket-sized devotional, Our Daily Bread, andone who was acquainted with much illness and weakness throughout his life, wrote these comforting yet challenging words: “Many Christians are anxious and troubled. Although they are experiencing the ‘rest’ of salvation that accompanies the forgiveness of sins and are looking forward to the eternal ‘rest’ of heaven, their souls are still in turmoil. Fearful and doubting, they seem to be continually burdened by life’s problems. A closer look at their anxiety can reveal the reason for their distress. Having never learned to rest in the Lord, they fail to experience the quietness and confidence that comes to those who daily fellowship with Him through Bible study and prayer. Don’t let yourself become a victim of fruitless fretting. If you do, you’ll lose the peace and joy that is your rightful heritage. Instead, set aside part of each day to talk with God, thanking Him for who He is and what He has done for you. Then, by reading His word and believing His comforting promises, your faith will grow stronger and a supernatural peace will flood your soul. Have you learned to rest in Him?”
The following story is told of a missionary who experienced great difficulty in trying to translate the Gospel of John into the local dialect. He faced the problem of finding a word for ‘believe.’ When he came to that particular word, he always had to leave a blank space. Then one day a runner came panting into the camp, having traveled a great distance with a very important message. After blurting out his story, he fell exhausted into a hammock nearby. He muttered a brief phrase that seemed to express both his great weariness and his contentment at finding such a delightful place of relaxation. The missionary, never having heard these words before, asked a bystander what the runner had said. “Oh, he is saying, `I’m at the end of myself, therefore I am resting all of my weight here!”‘ The missionary exclaimed, “Praise God! That is the very expression I need for the word believe!”
Have we learned to rest in Him, placing all our weight upon Him? Whatever might cause us worry or stress, making us agitated or upset, let us return to a place of trusting in Him, confidently committing the matter into His capable and loving hands, knowing that indeed He will take care of us. We need not look for vitamins on Amazon!
“Bear not a single care thyself, one is too much for thee; the work is Mine, and Mine alone; thy work—to rest in Me” (Hudson Taylor).
We can rest on His faithfulness—for He has been tried, and found faithful.
We can rest on His love—for He loves us to the uttermost.
We can rest on His power—for it is ever engaged on our behalf.
We can rest on His covenant—for it is ordered in all things and sure.
We can rest on His blood—for it speaks peace, pardon, and acceptance with God.
We can rest at His feet—for there we are safe, and can never be injured.
We cannot rest . . . on our graces, on our comforts, on our friends, or on our possessions.
We may rest on Jesus alone.