After weeks and weeks of being asked, “When are we going to go get Connor a new bed?” I finally made time to begin shopping for him a new bed. As I walked into the store, I noticed row upon row of beds. Some with green, yellow, orange, blue, or red colored banners all across them. As the salesman approached me, he asked me what type of bed I was looking for. I told him I have a two year old son who needs a twin bed. He took me to the back wall and showed me a good mattress for only a couple of hundred dollars. He asked me to lie down on the mattress to see how it felt. As I lie there I quickly realized how uncomfortable that mattress felt. He showed me a second mattress, more expensive than the first, and asked me to try out that one. I must admit it was much better and I was still comfortable with the price. But then, he said those words. “If you really want your son to be comfortable and rest well, you need to get him this mattress.” He then pulled out a third mattress which was much more expensive than the first two and cost more than I wanted to pay. He asked me to try out this third mattress and I then made the fatal mistake of lying down on it. As I lie there I kept hearing those words, “If you want your son to be COMFORTABLE and REST well…” Of course I want my son to be comfortable and rest. What type of father would I be if I didn’t. After much deliberation, I am sad to say that his sales tactic worked beautifully on me. I ended up getting the expensive mattress however; he was “magically” able to shave off a hundred dollars and toss in a mattress liner. Therefore I don’t feel TOO bad.
Do you want to experience REST? I am not asking if you want a new mattress. I am asking if you would like to experience rest. Listen to Psalm 116:7 – “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.” Note that the psalmist is not talking about his body resting, but his soul. It’s one thing for my body to rest by sleeping in. It’s something else to have a soul at rest. And note too that the rest comes and goes. He had rest once and wants it back.
Notice also Psalm 131 – “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.” This psalm pictures the resting soul as a child snuggled up and napping against its mother’s breast.
Life can be and is very difficult. There are many times in our lives in which we find ourselves bruised and down trodden by the difficulties of life. Scripture shares some of the disturbances to our rest. For example we find in Isaiah 57:20 where personal sin causes our rest to be disturbed. Isaiah also shares in Isaiah 28:12 where rebellion to God should and will cause unrest. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:13 that the emotion of anxiety causes us to not experience peace and rest within our lives.
The great news for you and I today is that Jesus understands and cares. Jesus recognized the need for rest in Mark 6:31, “And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” David longed for rest during a difficult time in his personal life. He states in Psalm 55:6, “Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.” The need for spiritual rest is nothing new and because of that human need, God provided the means of rest through our relationship with Him.
Rest is found in Christ – Matthew 11:28-29 proclaims, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus recognizes that we have times of unrest and also describes the feeling experience when a heavy burden is removed.
Rest is found in Trusting – Psalm 37:7 adds, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” David is writing about our need to learn to fully rely and trust that the Lord will allow us to prevail if we will only trust in Him.
Rest is found by returning to God – Isaiah 30:15, “For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling.” For the erring sinner, rest is only available through repentance. To repent means to turn or return to God. Far too many people want to experience rest but are not willing to live lives in accordance with the will and plan of God.
Although I walked into that store to buy my little boy a new mattress, I walked out of that store thankful for my God and my relationship with Him. Because He loves me and died for me, I can experience true rest through my relationship with my Father, my Brother, and the church.
May God bless you richly!