Then Jesus said, "Let's go off by ourselves
to a quiet place and rest awhile..."
Here's the thing....
It's easy to talk about a word like “rest", when we find ourselves in a beautiful place, and we are able to slow down a bit.
When we wake up in the morning, and our view is the sun rising over the horizon, shining onto a sandy beach, or a majestic mountain, or a picturesque lake, we can’t help but start to breathe a little more deeply.
The real challenge is in believing that same rest is available to us, right in the middle of our everyday lives.
We don’t have to go on vacation to find rest.
The rest we long for isn't limited to the number of personal days we get per year.
It’s not just a "siesta", lay in the sun with your toes in the sand, kind of rest....
although that is lovely and certainly a gift.
A lazy morning sleeping in, laying on a hammock, or for some, a round of golf or a long bike ride, are all amazing ways to settle our minds and our bodies, for sure.
But we’ll find ourselves quickly restless again, if we think that is what will finally bring rest
to our souls.
What Jesus offers to us every single moment of every single day, right in the middle of our everyday lives, is a settled, soul-rest.
We find it in the practice of stopping to remember who He says that He is,
and who He says that we are, in Him.
That rest is ours, when we remember to preach to our own souls, what He has ALREADY done,
and that He promises to be with us always.
These are the truths that we so often forget to remember.
The confession of St. Augustine, just a few hundred years after Christ, is the same confession of our hearts today, whether we can articulate it or not…
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord,
and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
It is not the view that brings us rest.
It’s not the absence of responsibilities or stress that bring us rest.
It’s not the sound of the crashing waves, or the sand in our toes, that bring rest.
It’s not a healthy family, a safe home, or a steady paycheck, that bring rest.
A comfortable life, without tension or worry, is not even the thing that will ultimately bring us rest.
What each of those things offer is relief.
And relief is good. Relief can make it easier to catch our breath.
But relief is not rest.
And having a temporary sense of relief wasn’t ever meant to satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
When we think that a certain set of circumstances, whatever we imagine those to be, will bring us lasting peace and rest, we miss the deep, abiding rest that comes only in Jesus.
When we remember what we already know to be true, only then, can we find the rest we so desperately long for…
Despite what is happening around us, deep soul-rest is already in us, and it’s ours in Christ, when we choose to remember.
Jesus is offering it today...
right there in your kitchen, in your cubicle, in your car.
Wherever you find yourself today,
stop for just a minute to remember…
This is what the Lord said, “My Presence will go withyou,
and I will give you rest.” -Exodus 33:14