Rest is Faith
The thing about the Biblical idea of rest, that I am becoming increasingly aware of, is this - rest, is actually a matter of faith, more than anything else.
'In returning and rest you shall be saved
In quietness and in trust shall be your strength'. Isaiah 30 v 16
The context in which this is written is that God's people, the Israelites, are refusing to listen to Him, refusing to take His advice, refusing to heed His warnings. God says to them, 'don't go to Egypt, stay and rest in me, in my ability to keep you, provide for you, protect you', and their response is,
'No, we will flee upon horses, and we will ride upon swift steeds' (v16).
Or, in other words, “No, we will do it our way, we know what is needed in this situation, we can sort it’.
But you know, in this do-it-yourself era, when we are encouraged to fix ourselves, and be independent, there is really only One who knows what we need, who knows how to fix us, and He says to us, amidst the clamour and the confusion:
'I know your frame, I remember that you are dust' (Psalm 103), and later, in the New Testament, Jesus says, 'Come to ME and I will give you rest' (Matt 11).
Because of busyness, and chaos, we don't still ourselves, and often it is because we don't like what we see and hear in that stillness; we hide our pain by our activity.
In the stillness, before God, He whispers to us to 'let go', and THAT is hard to do when we have lived so long with our coping strategies and, dare I say it, with our masks!
So - rest is an issue of faith, and faith is a matter of relationship. In whom are we putting our faith? In whom must we rest? Can He be trusted? Truly trusted? What will happen if we let go? If we stop? If we take Him at His word?
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from His. Hebrews 4:11
The word Rest in these verses is not the kind of rest where you put your feet up on a Sunday afternoon, or you lie on the beach for a week. It is not about working hard, struggling, striving and then PHEW, a day off. It is not LIVING FOR REST which I think is the pattern that we see modelled by the world around us today. It is living from rest.
It is believing that what God says, is actually true. It IS true whether it feels true or not. It is the truth whatever the circumstances, and the truth is superior to feelings. Truth is still truth, whether 1 or 1 million people believe it or not. Truth does not change with time, or with fashion - truth is truth for all people, everywhere, for all time, for ever.
Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14:6).
If Jesus is the truth, then He speaks the truth. That is His job - to speak truth, and our job is to believe it!
One huge step towards rest is to choose to believe what God says. It is to put a small mustard seed of faith in a huge, all powerful, good, faithful and glorious God, who is also our Heavenly Daddy, Abba.
I am a small person with a simple faith. Jesus tells me not to be anxious - He speaks the truth, and He knows my weak and feeble frame, therefore it must be possible for me to live free from anxiety. I do not pray, ever, that I not be anxious - I simply thank Him for His peace, and I choose peace, day and night, night and day. I am rarely anxious.
Rest is faith. Choose truth, and live in peace.