Getting Wise Through Spiritual Rest
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
I am sitting down writing this devotional in Starbucks with a grande coffee next to me and an overwhelming to-do list bouncing around in my brain. Yet, in the midst of all my unchecked tasks, my mind longs for is some much-needed rest. If you know me you know I love my sleep, so when I say I am longing for “rest,” I am talking about 12 hours of deep sleep. I have gotten to the point in my life where I am used to the fast pace world we live in, and I can tell you honestly, I am not a fan. It feels as if is there not enough silence to rest and hear the Lord.
I feel like each day we are running 100 miles per hour and even when we’re sitting down and resting, we’re just thinking of the next thing we have to do or the next place we have to go. Don’t get me
wrong, I am thankful for all that my life encompasses, but it’s gotten to the point where I can’t even get proper, physical rest let alone rest in the Lord’s presence.
I have noticed I have mastered embracing physical rest. I long for it constantly, but I haven’t even come close to mastering resting in the Lord. Of course, that is something I will never completely master, but I’ve noticed that desire becoming a smaller and smaller priority in my life. It seems like I only long for rest in the Lord when I am having a stressful day and I pull out my Bible app or close my eyes to pray to God. Finding rest in God is still a part of my everyday life, but it's almost become more of a task than a deep desire– like going to bed.
God commands us and urges us to find rest in Him, but we tend to forget that spiritual rest is just as necessary as physical rest. Sometimes, that rest can be just as productive and enlightening as all of our movement and busy-ness. In Matthew, we get to be a first-hand audience to the numerous miracles that God performs. We see how He uses three faithful men within the biggest event he orchestrated on Earth. He uses the wise men– men who were faithful and worn out just like you and me– to greet Jesus, our Savior, after his birth. In Matthew 2:10-12 it says:
“It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.” (NLT)
No one knows where exactly the wise men traveled from– some people believe they were from modern-day Saudi Arabia or Yemen– the Bible never says for sure, but it’s safe to say they traveled from far away. I mean, if it took them two years to finally reach Jesus, we can only assume that it was a significant distance, even on foot. I’m sure they didn’t travel light either. These guys were ... well... wise! They probably didn’t have just the clothes on their backs and the gifts they had for Jesus. They probably had travel provisions, scrolls, maps, and a few other objects they picked up along the way. They had to be tired after years of lugging their lives around after a star.
Yet even through all the exhaustion, anxiety, and restlessness, they never dropped the ball. They sought God in the business of life, but also, in the silence. They followed a star and the direction of the Lord. They met Herod, a king who wanted to kill Jesus, and had the discernment to not tell him where he would find the Savior. They got all the way to the door of a small cottage, laid their gifts at Jesus’ feet, and finally rested in their finished work. They rested in Him. And it’s a good thing they did because they were warned in a dream to leave Bethlehem by a different route so as to avoid Herod altogether. At the end of all the frustration, they found joy and reward in experiencing the biggest miracle of all time, more knowledge of just how amazing God is, and a broadened faith.
As your relationship with God is and should be exclusive, it is also beautifully inclusive. God is a jealous God in that He wants you all to Himself. He desires that you continue to become more and more vulnerable with Him and experience His Holy Spirit in new ways each and every day. It is in that silence– either the silence of your mind or the silence of a room– that those fires tend to spark. One on one rest with God will bring you knowledge, understanding, peace, and truth that God wants to bring to the table in your life.
Each day, I am learning that spiritual rest should be immensely more desirable than we understand. We all find ourselves overwhelmed and we completely take for granted the power and peace found in coming to the Father. We overlook the beauty and power of closing our eyes, giving God our thoughts, and yearning for his guidance. I am praying that I desire to start to enveloping myself more in this rest then just simply saying a prayer in class. I hope that I continue to build from there on a daily basis.
In this Christmas season, meditate on the stillness of the Lord. He can move mountains in the silence. Pray that this rest would become a burning desire within your soul. Start to let spiritual rest open your ears to what God is saying. We have this amazing gift. Let’s challenge ourselves more and more to pause our lives and embrace it.
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