Ahhh, Sweet Mystery of Life...!
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Genesis 2:2 (NIV)
The spring air is redolent with the profusion of flowers so abundant their fragrances intermingle to become indistinguishable from one another, surrounding me in a cocoon of heavenly perfume so light and sweet it is like nourishment for my senses. A lazy breeze drifts across my skin, lifting strands of hair to tickle my face and I reach up to languidly brush them away, letting my arm drop and rest where it will. Above me, a convenient fluffy white cloud obscures the sun, diffusing its light to gently kiss the world around me with perfect warmth like a tender caress. Relaxation so fully envelopes me and infuses my being that my limbs are heavy in their repose. The quiet humming of bees and trickle of a nearby fountain are a comforting lullaby to my ears. Beneath me, the hammock swings slightly with the movement of my arm, and my drowsy eyes close as I sigh and drift slowly toward the edge of an afternoon nap. Sweet. Complete. Rest.
Who doesn’t love the feeling of being so completely relaxed that when you finally decide to get up you just can’t? You feel like a cat, stretching your body out fully and then contracting once more, just to snuggle into the covers and linger where you are for a few more moments. The temperature is perfect, the sheets feel like silk on your skin, and you just cannot bear to extricate yourself from this bliss. It is delicious, and feels like a guilty pleasure even though we know rest is really good for our body, mind and spirit.
Studies show that most people do not get nearly enough sleep, much less rest. Even when we sleep, we toss and turn, never really escaping the stress of our days; never fully relaxing so our bodies can repair what we have done to them during our waking hours. We get up with kinks in our necks, cramps in our legs and tension in our shoulders that turns into knots that never get fully worked out. We know we should drink lots of water, exercise and try to eat the right foods to maintain healthy bodies, but even if we do all of that, we still tend to ignore the most important element of a healthy life: rest.
What do we tell our family and friends if they are sick or aren’t feeling well? Get some rest! Even God rested when He finished creating the world. Why do you think there is such an emphasis on rest in the Bible? I believe it is because God loves us and wants the best possible life for us. He wants us to rest in Him, not worry about anything, and trust that He will take care of whatever concerns us…easier said than done! But it is a huge relief whenever I am actually able to do that; to make the conscious decision that I will trust Him, release my cares and worries…and enjoy some peaceful rest.
So here is your assignment for the day: Release to God that thing you are fretting over and trust Him to handle it, and then go take a nap!
Prayer: My most gracious and loving Heavenly Father, thank you for finally convincing me that you truly do want only what is best for me. Why is that always so hard for me to believe? Thank you for teaching me to rest in you and to release my cares and concerns to you each day. As you know, it isn’t easy for me to let go; it is a practice I have to commit to and do every single day. Forgive me when I worry because I know that means I am trying to be in control. I realized long ago that you do a much better job with my life than I do, so here it is, Lord; have your way in me. Thank you for loving me so completely and teaching me so gently. Your lessons are often hard for me to learn, but once I finally get it, they make life so much easier on me. I love you, worship you, trust you, and with deep gratitude I give myself to you, my wise counselor, my provider, my constant companion and my most trusted friend, in Jesus’ name, amen.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:26-27
“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 28-31
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” Psalm 91:1
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21