About a month ago I wrote about being thankful for a evening of rest. I commented on the need to rest. I have not given much attention to rest since then. Life is full. Today, I took the whole day to rest. We are on fall break and I was supposed to go to the state ministers’ meeting in Nashville. But I woke feeling a little under the weather, and so I decided to stay in and take it easy. I reviewed some old projects that had been sidelined but I did not work on any current projects. As the day progressed I felt renewed.
Rest is essential to our well being. God ordained it from the beginning. My concept of rest has been to escape from stress by shifting between arenas of work. It seems restfull to forget about the seminary by attending to the church, or to forget about both by doing manual labor. I am discovering that rest is more than not feeling stress because I have diverted my attention away from the event causing me stress. Rest is withdrawal from all work. It is needed for our bodies and our spirits (mental/emotional) and it is critical to our relationship with God.
I have often said that prayer is work, hard work. Praying through to the presence and peace of God requires effort, but there is a correlation between the amount of effort required and the amount of clutter in our spirits. Rest is God’s plan for sweeping out the clutter, those things, good, bad, and indifferent, that threaten to become barriers between us and our Creator.
I am thankful for a day of rest but I am more thankful for the gentle manner in which God has reminded me rest is not just a commandment, it is a gift designed to renew us in our walk with Him. In this I am reminded that prayer is not so much an instrument to change this world as it is a down payment on that eternal rest into which we have been called.
October 05, 2010