Rest in His Work, Not Our Own
by Ruth Chou Simons
“…my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5
I’ve been running a bit ragged lately, and thinking that maybe I resist rest because I resist not being in control.
I convince myself that my plans and dreams will fall apart if I’m not working around the clock to protect and prove them . . . to propel them forward. Staying ahead of the game in self-preservation has become such a normal pace in our lives, that I think my heart’s forgotten that it isn’t what I was created for.
Unless God builds it, unless He’s in it, all the laboring is in vain.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:1-2).
God has made us to grow weary, to call it quits on our laboring, and to rest. If you feel worn out, friend, it’s a pretty good indication that our infinite God made you finite for a purpose. He is reminding you that resting isn’t just a good idea; it’s His example and standard for us. Our all-powerful God does not grow weary, and yet He chose to rest on the seventh day of creation.
But, I’m finding that it’s so much more than a day of the week, or a scheduling choice. Rest is rarely available in the places I’m most apt to look for it. We turn to a quiet afternoon of reading while my children play harmoniously for hours, thinking that rest is the feeling of being worry-free, settled, unafraid, secure, refreshed. We equate rest with knowing that everything is under control, and all is well. But forms of rest that we try to secure for ourselves never adequately meet the needs of our weary soul. It’s more than clearing the deck, putting our phones on silent, or going on vacation. We can do all those things and still feel unrested.
We work so hard to make rest for ourselves through who we are and what we can accomplish, rather than securing rest through who God is and what He has already done.
Augustine famously reminded us that the rest we seek is meant to be met in God Himself: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
So instead of believing that rest comes after finishing our to-do lists—organizing closets, changing out seasonal clothes, cleaning out the garage—or believing that we can’t relax until it’s all checked off and there is simply nothing more to do, let’s choose the Rest that comes from the only finished work that truly exists—the finished work of redemption of the cross of Christ.
Rest is to cease striving, to be restored and refreshed. It is ultimately a physical picture of what we are called to spiritually. The cross of Christ didn’t simply make it possible for us to take some time off from the burden of sin and death; it purchased for us true rest from its weight of shame. In Christ, we can rest from our laboring in self-preservation and self-righteousness, and put our trust in a Savior who is “before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).
So, make plans to quiet your phones, take a trip, clear your inbox, or empty the shed, but turn to your Savior—Christ—as your refuge for rest; He is the only one who will not disappoint.
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.” Psalm 62:5-7
Take a deep breath and allow yourself to rest today. There is no significance, hope, or value you can strive for and gain for yourself that hasn’t already been made fully available to those who rest in Him.
A portion of this article is taken from GraceLaced. Copyright © 2017 by Ruth Chou Simons. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402. www.harvesthousepublishers.com. Used by Permission.
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