Vacations, movies & other forms of entertainment, work, soccer games & dance recitals, TV shows, etc. – we are a busy lot! 25 hours a day 8 days a week, we are moving, cramming as many things into our days as possible. In these times of busyness it is easy to neglect an important gift that God has given us: rest.
Rest is important to God, so much so that he modeled it for us in the first story in the Bible! And on the seventh day He rested. But rest is very often a misunderstood concept. Rest is not the same thing as sleeping. Rest is not “vegging out.” Believe it or not, rest actually takes effort!
Everything in our culture sets itself against rest. We have things to do for the times when we aren’t doing anything! Movies, TV, Music, Video Games, and countless other distractions offer us an escape from silence, but it is often in the silence that God meets with us. I am not suggesting that movies, TV, etc are bad. I myself am a movie fanatic! But I am suggesting that we make a concerted effort to rest; that we make time to be still.
In Psalm 131:2, the psalmist describes the process. “I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
What an amazing picture. A weaned child, when resting with its mother, is not there for nourishment sake, it’s there simply to be near mother. The psalmist recognized that it was important for him to seek out God’s presence in those times when he didn’t need anything from God. He needed times of quiet and rest with God; times to simply enjoy God’s presence.
But how do we accomplish this stillness? You know as well as I do that the moment we try to be still, a thousand things instantly come to our mind. We remember the tiniest details that need to be taken care of. Stillness evades us, so how do we calm our souls?
That is this week’s homework. Take a few moments; say ten or fifteen minutes, to be still. Sit down in a chair or on the edge of your bed with your feet flat of the floor. Start with a simple prayer like, “God, I love you, and I’ve come to rest and to be still with you.” Then simply sit in silence, relaxing your shoulders and neck, legs and back. Inevitably thoughts will rush into your mind, vying for attention. As they do, continue your prayer, “God, I give (specific thought) to you, I know that you will take care of it. I choose to be still with you.” And continue in the silence.
Honestly, it may be exhausting the first two or three days you try, because we are not accustomed to being in silence. But if you continue, as you become used to simply “being” in the presence of God, you will find rest for your soul. These next two weeks, let’s seek the peace-filled presence of Christ together. Let’s learn to be still.