Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Week Fourteen - Rest

I don’t remember exactly where I found this little definition for rest, but I want to share it with you today. While we are all cooped up in our houses, we have time to reflect, to pray, to think, refresh, and rest. For some, it is a God-send, for others a real struggle, because many don’t know how to rest. 
We place all our identity and personal value in what we create instead of whose we are. 
Take time to think with me today about the rest available during this time of self-isolating.

F – Filling – we can allow the Spirit of God to fill our hearts with love, thankfulness, and compassion. It affords us growth in our prayer time and personal relationship with the Lord.

A – Accepting – we accept that God has the right to make changes in our lives and attitudes. We can learn more about the joy and secret of yieldedness.

I – Immersing – there is no excuse now for staying away from our Bible reading or study time. Immersing ourselves in the word help us find encouragement for the road ahead.

R – Reminding – This is also an excellent time for us to open our hearts to the Lord and allow Him to remind us of the areas where we need to grow, of the people who need a kind word or good deed from us, and of His great faithfulness – the Infinite Faithfulness.

S – Surrounding – And we can know the arms of the Lord around us at this time and at all times. We are surrounded by His love and protected by His grace. We are never alone.

When you take these five things and apply them to rest, you find your heart filled with the joy of the Spirit, open to the moving of God, deep into the word, aware of the need of those around you, and surrounded by the great, great love of God. There, you can rest.

My friend lent me a book entitled “We Neurotics.” It’s a story about an overworked man and some people he meets that help him see his humanity. In one chapter, he meets with a nun who begins to talk about how to rest.

“Mr. Dawes,” she said, solemnly and slowly, “you are but one among thousands in this very city who face the problem of curing themselves. We talk of people finding their feet, a ridiculous expression; the real task for most people is to find their souls. First step, you must learn to relax. And when I use the word ’relax’, I am, of course referring to therapeutic relaxation. I cannot help my children in the clinic until they are muscularly peaceful, so God needs a similar condition in the spiritual life.”  (We Neurotics, Bernard Basset, p 11)

Then she recommended. “Do not pray for, perhaps, a month, for God Himself is not at His best till we are relaxed.” Now, I’m not so sure about her suggestion, but I would say, coming hurried, frustrated, and too weary for communion hinders prayer. God wants us to draw aside, to take time, and fellowship to listen and draw strength.

She went on to describe her method for therapeutic relaxation. Lay flat on your back with your eyes closed until you feel your body relaxing.  “When at last the whole body was at rest, I had to stretch out my arms as a cat does so that the claws are exposed.  Then with my arms loose on my chest and my feet crossed for polarisation, I was to lie quite still for forty minutes, seeing myself strolling leisurely through luscious, green fields. After three weeks without a break, I could relax with comfort and the luscious green fields arrived at once.” (p 14)

Here is the real issue – we don’t stop long enough to let rest come to our lives. We pause for a cup of tea or a chat with a friend and think we have spent enough of our valuable time. We go on holiday and read books that keep our emotions stirred. We watch programs that cause our adrenaline to flow or play games that heighten our ambitious, competitive nature. These are distractions, not therapeutic rest. 

God calls us more often to rest than to work—or dare I say play too hard! He wants our fellowship most of all asking us to come to Him when we are weary, to come aside to pray, to submit ourselves to His hand, and He will give the increase. He will fight the battle. He will direct our paths.

So, during this time of forced rest, instead of chomping at the bit to get back to the rat race, let’s learn more about what rest means. Let’s take some real quiet time—even forty minutes on our back meditating on the beauty of the Lord. You've got plenty of time to do so, and the kids could do it too! Then—

R – Relax   E – Enjoy   S – Sing   T – Thanksgiving

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