We have just returned from a 9 day vacation on the beautiful white sand beaches of Florida. During that time we laughed, we played, we swam, we slept, we ate, we shopped and most of all we rested. And this trip, I really rested!!
Each time I get away the Lord takes me to Isaiah 30:15, ‘For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”’ This trip was no different. I finally asked why He kept giving me the same verse and realized I really was having trouble staying in a position of rest. It seems there is always something to ponder, worry about, think on or concern my heart with. Parenting, politics, the health of my marriage, my role as a daughter, juggling schedules, aging parents, seeing to my children’s education, reading, staying up to date on world issues, an adult child in the home as well as a nursing infant, the list goes on. I thought getting the break from the demands of the day at home and away from my ever pressing schedule meant I was resting. For years I have been deceiving myself into thinking I was at rest because I was away, sleeping or just veg’ing. In reality I was just powering down my physical body, distracting my mind with other things aside from my to-dos, and giving my soul a break from the normal sights, sounds and tastes of daily life.
All week long the load had come off; I had enjoyed my moments in the sun and the sand. Free of the cares of life and loving my time in whispered prayers, worshiping as the sun would rise or set and just sitting in the sands listening to the waves crash against the beach as I enjoyed being a part of the greatness of His creation. It was restful! Every care was cast upon Him, every worry was dismissed and the burdens were disregarded. I was at rest!!
I didn’t realize I was at rest until it was time to think about coming home. Then it hit me, the demands, the schedule, the idea of responsibilities and the worries of what the next weeks were going to bring. I felt it like a weight. Lord, how could something so refreshing be so fleeting? My answer… rest is a choice. It is in returning and rest that I am saved; saved from the fears the worries and the hurts of this world. In quietness and confidence my strength is renewed, strength to stand, strength to love, strength to trust and strength to be. Today, I had a choice.
Hebrews 4 tells us to be diligent to enter into His rest, the rest where we have ceased our works, quit striving and stopped all worry. Hebrews 4 goes on to say we have a High Priest who was tempted just as we are but without sin. He knows I am tempted to strive for success, to worry about the future of my children, to fret over finances or health issues and to carry the burdens of life as a mom and wife. Hebrews 4 then commissions us to come boldly to his throne of grace and obtain the mercy and grace to help in time of need. I need help to stay in a place of rest! I need mercy and grace to continue to keep my burdens at His feet and to stay in a place of rest.
Rest means trust. It means I know He can handle anything in my life. It means when life gets hard, I know the One who makes it more than just bearable but gives it purpose and ease. It means when worry tries to creep in, I know the One who puts my mind at ease when I allow my heart to be filled with His truth and His whispers of love and courage fill my soul. It means when I begin to become overwhelmed and I feel like I am sinking, I know the One who takes the brunt of the waves on Himself and shields me from storms of life.
Anxiety, stress, fear, discouragement, they were all washed away at the beach that day. I chose to rest, I chose to trust and I chose to come home and maintain a place of rest. There might be days I fail, but praise God He has made a way through my great High Priest to approach His throne of grace and ask for the mercy and grace I need to obtain the help I need. And with His help I will be forever in a place of rest! This week I truly found a treasure in the sand!