Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones. Â Â Psalm 127:1-2 (NLT)
What is on your schedule this week? Sometimes we think of the many items on our schedule and minds as â€œhaving a full plateâ€ or â€œburning the candle at both ends and warming the middle.â€ For me, the phrase that covers it is â€œjust because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean ‘they’ aren’t after you.â€ It helps me to justify all the many things that I have on my plate. I believe them to be legitimate. But are they?
It is rest that often eludes me. I get sleep but rest â€“ that is about complete relaxation of the body and mind. What can keep me from rest?
Worry and burdens. No surprise that the primary reason I might not be resting would be worry about the many things that are running through my mind. No day passes without prayer requests for people who are battling cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. The journey that these people and their families are navigating is very familiar to me. Then there are those who are struggling to pay bills, keep a home, educate their children, and care for their aging parents. Bombs are going off at sporting events, explosions in factories, rivers are flooding and destroying homes, and earthquakes are leveling cities and killing hundreds and thousands. So much pain and suffering that has no respect for age, sex, ethnicity or how much has already been endured.
Then Jesus said,â€œCome to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.â€ Â Â Matthew 11;28-30 (NLT)
Jesus did not intend for me to carry heavy burdens. If I feel the weight of worry and burdens then I am carrying something that was not in God’s plan. I am being disobedient to do so.
Awake for a reason. Sometimes I am restless and unable to sleep and it comes to my mind, â€œLORD, is there someone who needs prayer?â€ I have been astounded at the names that comes to my mind. It is not unusual for it to be someone who has not been on my mind or even in my life for some time. And so I begin to pray. So many times, when I turn myself to prayer, my LORD faithfully hears and takes the petition and I turn easily into rest.
It is also not unusual for me to be guided into a time of prayer for myself. If I have not taken the time to ask God for His forgiveness and remove the burden of sin from my life, rest will not come easily.
How wonderful it is to know that no matter what, I can take my cares and my worries to the LORD in prayer. Sometimes adults, parents or bosses or owners believe that they are who they are because they take responsibility and must always have all the answers. The truth is â€“ the older I get and the more I learn â€“ the more I do not know. It is God with whom I can trust everything that I am and all that I have. It is God who wants the best for me and so I can trust Him to guide me with His wisdom and direct me with His knowledge and in His great love.
Isaiah the prophet said,
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint. Â Â Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)
So the next time I cannot rest instead of getting frustrated or counting sheep, let me turn to Jesus first. A chat with Him may reveal the obstacle to rest and conclude with that sweet peace that brings His rest.
I’ve Got Peace Like a River an African American spiritual sung by The Morman Tabernacle Choir