Trusting God for Rest

I was weary . . . weariness stemming from the busyness of a fall that had been physically and emotionally taxing. Yet this gave me more opportunity than ever to apply what I’ve been learning about rest and resiliency in the past year. Living out these lessons felt like diving into deep, refreshing water.

I have been studying the life of Noah, whose name means “relief” and “rest.” As I build my own haven for rest, I’m learning that trusting God is the basis for experiencing rest. Noah demonstrated that for me:

  • Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).
  • Noah found favor with God (Genesis 6:8).
  • Noah listened to God and obeyed (trusted) (Genesis 6:22, 7:5).
  • Noah experienced God’s faithfulness (Genesis 8:1).
  • Noah worshipped God (Genesis 8:20).

I want to be like Noah. I want to be a woman who walks with God, listens to God, obeys (trusts) God, worships God, and experiences God’s faithfulness and rest.

Trusting the truth of Matthew 11:28-30 has been the diving board for me, the key to living as Noah did and experiencing rest. Jesus said,

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Here are a few of the lessons that are leading me to rest.

Rest is an invitation. Jesus invites me to come to Him in the midst of my weariness. He asks me to learn from Him . . . not learn of Him or about Him. Jesus was able to rest in the midst of the storms of His life. When I learn from that, I can respond to (trust) that His invitation to rest is for me, too, in the midst of the storms of my life.

Circumstances don’t invite me to rest; circumstances invite me to trust, which leads to rest. When life was especially hard this fall, I began to pray, God, your yoke doesn’t seem easy or light at the moment, it seems heavy. But I want to trust that what you are allowing as I walk with you is light. So will you take the heavy and leave me with the easy and light? 

Rest is a choice. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Silicon valley strategist says, “You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.” His words seem true to me. In the midst of our travels this fall there were times when I had the opportunity to trust that rest was important and to opt out of certain good activities and choose rest. One afternoon in North Carolina, I slipped out of a conference to wander through the shops of Black Mountain. For me that was so restful. (And I even purchased a couple of Christmas gifts.)

It can be a spiritual practice just to sit. “. . . In quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). It is restful for me to start each morning with a cup of coffee, sitting in my favorite comfy chair and enjoying God’s creation outside my windows. The quietness of this time leads me naturally to listen for His voice. It is good. After several days of sitting on airplanes, sitting in meetings, or even sitting with friends enjoying a good meal, sitting with God leads to rest.

To rest is to practice humility. I won’t respond in trust to Jesus’ invitation or Noah’s example unless humility leads the way. I was challenged by Hannah Anderson’s words in her book, Humble Roots, “As long as we refuse to accept [that] our pride is the source of our unrest, we will continue to wither on the vine.” And, “When Jesus calls us to take his yoke, when He invites us to find rest through submission . . . He is calling us to safety” (Chapter 2).

Thinking through these questions, derived from Matthew 11:28-30, has led me to trust and to rest during busy times. Perhaps you’ll want to consider them yourself.

  • Where are my places of heavy laden-ness today?
  • Do I want rest in those places?
  • What would it look like to respond to Jesus’ invitation to come to Him today?
  • How can I learn from Him today?
  • Do I believe that He is gentle and humble? How does that relate to me?
  • Am I willing to give Him those things that are heavy and trust Him with His light burden for me?

In a nutshell, rest flows from trust. You might even say they are first cousins!

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