When we think about rest, we often think that it is all about getting some sleep. And yes, sleep is important. When we push ourselves for long and we don’t get enough sleep, sleep will eventually catch up with us and overpower us. Rest however, never overpowers us. If you don’t take rest you probably won’t notice your lack of rest for a while.
I didn’t, and then I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. I didn’t feel particularly sleep deprived, but my lack of rest was affecting every area of my life. It affected my self-image, my work, my family, my relationships, my leisure, my hobbies etc. Every aspect of my life was touched by my lack of rest, I just didn’t notice it at first.
Isaiah 30:15 “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
When we rest two things start to happen: 1) We think differently about time and 2) we have to re-orientate our hearts and minds towards God.
We have spoken quite a bit about time, but it is the latter one, we often neglect because we don’t pay attention to how much we actually do trust God. Ask yourself: How much is your confidence and trust rooted in a deep conviction that God is good and sovereign? I may say that I trust God, but do I still believe that He is always good? Do I still believe that He is sovereign and in control?
Rest for our souls often needs that reminder that God CAN, so I can take the time off! It is a conviction that believes that although my circumstances are still crazy and I don’t understand them, God is still LORD of my life, I can trust Him.
We have to train ourselves in God’s sovereignty. Yes train, since it implies our mind, our attitude and belief and thereby our actions. We waver between our experience of His sovereignty and our need to convince ourselves anew that He is sovereign, so therefore need to train ourselves to make God bigger than our circumstances.
David trained himself too. In Psalm 62 he starts by declaring:
“My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
He then thinks on all that makes him anxious and then has to remind himself in verse 6:
“Find rest, my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”
To conclude to himself and to the people in verse 8:
“Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
Finally, after looking at other things people find confidence in, he restates for himself in verse 11:
“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.”
This is David training his heart and mind in God’s sovereignty, He is re-orientating his spirit towards God. For many of us, just like David, we have to constantly work on our hearts to maintain God as sovereign.
Saying thank you to Him, is part of this, as discussed before. Also, rehearsing in our minds who God is: we can see a picture of this from David in 2 Samuel 22, where at the end of his life he sings a song to the Lord that seems to have become the song of his life. Look at how many times David rehearses everything he has come to know about God, so much so, that he has put it to a tune, in praise.
Re-orientating yourself to God, as part of rest, is focusing on his sovereignty, being thankful and praising Him, until we have “pure joy…face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). Our joy comes in the exercise of faith, for that which we do not see as yet.
You have to re-orientate yourself towards God, until He is bigger and you find rest.
Thank you, Lord, that there is rest in You. Thank you that You set the example of rest, so that we too can experience the Sabbath Rest in our relationship with You. Help me to remember to train my heart and mind in Your sovereignty, help me to make You my true north, the setting of my heart and mind. Help me, like David, to learn to rehearse your sovereignty to my heart and mind, until it becomes a deep and unwavering conviction of my heart.