The Theology of Rest
Updated: Feb 2, 2020
I’ve spent the last week or so analyzing what I need to do to re-learn how to relax even in seasons of stress. When I have large, long-term projects, I feel like a cloud is hanging over me, and the longer it stays there, the more the cloud starts to feel like a boulder hanging over my head. I’m just certain it’s going to come crashing down on top of me at any moment.
Since life is often full of large, long-term projects, this is not a healthy place to live. In the past, I have managed this feeling in my life primarily by never stopping until tasks are completed. This is also not a great way to live when there are often things you simply can’t complete in a reasonable time frame.
I’ve had one of those projects hanging over my head for most of 2019, and I’ve finally come to realize, though I *can* finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, that this compulsion of mine is a problem that needs to be dealt with so the next year-long project doesn’t leave me joyless and on edge for months.
So, my new plan includes (among many other things) time for prayer, devotion, and journaling every morning. These are important things that fuel me and will make the rest of my day better, more productive, and more positive (both for me and everyone else!)
Yesterday, August 12th was Day 1 of my new plan implementation. Oswald Chambers’ devotional book “My Utmost for His Highest” is my go-to for daily devotions. It may not be the only one I do, but it is one I will almost always include in a daily routine (when I’m actually doing a daily routine.) When I opened “My Utmost for His Highest” to August 12th, the title hit me hard:
The Theology of Rest…
Before I even started reading it, I was filled with peace. God wants me on this journey, and in his perfect wisdom, knew that on this day of August 12th, I would need those words from a book written over 100 years ago.
“To us He seems to be asleep, and we can see nothing but giant, breaking waves on the sea ahead of us.”
– Oswald Chambers
The waves crash around us, and we think God isn’t paying attention or doesn’t care when the truth is He knew all along there would be a storm and has already provided a path through and prepared us for it (if we will let Him!). I believe, one hundred times over, that God’s picture is bigger (and better!) than my limited perspective (“…for my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways…” Isa. 55:8-9) and that if we could see the end, we would endure all joyfully (“…our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…” Rom. 8:18) But even with this firmly held belief, I allow my feelings to cloud my vision, my peace, my joy, my rest.
“’…O you of little faith!’ What a stinging pain must have shot through the disciples as they surely thought to themselves, ‘We missed the mark again!’ And what a sharp pain will go through us when we suddenly realize that we could have produced complete and utter joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, in spite of what we were facing.”
– Oswald Chambers
So, here’s to re-learning how to rest in Him, no matter the waves.
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