As promised, today I will embark on the extended series of rest. As discussed last week, we concluded that God created rest (and all good things come from Him). Just as He rested on the seventh day of the creation of the world, He desires that we also make rest a priority in our lives.
I do want to go about it in a bit of a different angle today. While I believe we must intentionally schedule in times of rest every week and make that a priority, there will without a doubt be times when we have run completely out of strength and no room for rest is in the schedule.
As a softball player, I have in the past struggled with the idea of a Sabbath day, particularly in season. I recognize that God created the seventh day as holy but I also am completely sure that He has called me to be on the Kansas softball team. There is a conflict there, because from February to May, I am playing softball every single Sunday sans Easter.
Before addressing the theme of rest we must look at a key concept in the Bible because to many it would seem as though I were being disobedient to God’s law by continuing to play softball on Sundays.
In this, it is essential that we understand the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. The old covenant was given to God’s chosen people, Israel, through Abraham and was carried out though the Law of Moses, or the 10 commandments. But when God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross and to rise from the dead, Jesus fulfilled the old covenant, bringing forth the new!
Luke 24:44 says, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
It was the prophet Jeremiah who, hundreds of years before Jesus came, prophesied this very fulfillment. (See Jeremiah 31:31-34 for complete passage)
“’The time is coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant… It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers… I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people… they will all know me.’”
In this new covenant, poured out by the blood of Jesus, (Luke 22:20) we live no longer bound by the law, we are free to have a personal relationship with God, and we have to ability to seek to know Him. In this, He writes His law on our hearts, so that His desires become our desires.
With all of this being said, I am able to recognize that God desires for me to go to church on Sundays. And when I can’t, it wares on me and is my least favorite part of my softball season. But every Sunday morning during season, I pray and thank God for Sundays. I make a point to be in the Word, to listen to worship music, and to find my rest in Him on that day. I am seeking to meet God’s desire but not being bound by the law.
God desires us to find rest. In the midst of my exhaustion, and this whether in season or out of season, I often pray for strength. I love that in my times of struggles, I can trust that His spirit will take over. If I am not finding rest by taking a day off and resting physically, He allows me to find that rest in Him and He has made that possible for each of us.
Colossians 1:29 says, “To this end I labor, struggling with all HIS energy, which so powerfully works in me.”
In times of exhaustion, we let His spirit take over and work for us. We are able to find our rest in Christ Himself!
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Our Christian life should never be at a point where seeking to know God is exhausting. If so, we are going about that in the wrong way. His grace and life should never burden us, but rather, free us. When we come to Him weary and burdened, He promises rest.
Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
Be still before God and let His strength become your strength. If we let Him take over our lives and go to Him in our weariness, what appears to be our weakest and busiest times will then be our strongest and most freeing.