Finding Sacred Rest
In the 21st century, we live in a world of go, go, go. When we aren’t trying to go through the day-to-day motions of life, we are quick to try to find something to fill in the empty space. We constantly plan for the future, evaluating our each and every decision while wondering the outcomes and consequences of them, only to be left with unsatisfactory results.
Why is that? Why is it that our world has turned into a place that does not value rest? We believe that rest is equivalent to weakness or unproductivity or insuccess. Being busy, even as a Christian, is sometimes seen as something of value. Going back and forth from different worship services, small groups, and Bible studies, we neglect what it truly means to be in communion with God in a restful way. Through this, we often find more separation from God than closeness. However, God views rest differently.
I was given a daily devotional entitled Sacred Rest: Finding the Sabbath in the Everyday by Cheryl Wunderlich that got me to start thinking about the idea of Sacred Rest. It starts with the Old Testament, digging into the foundations of our Christian understanding of Sacred Rest. What is Sacred Rest? How can rest be considered sacred? How can I incorporate it into my busy life?
If you look at the first creation story in Genesis 1-2:3, God orders the world into being. He created this universe with order and rhythm in His mind. The pattern of creation in the first chapter of Genesis is repeated during the first six days of creation, but on the seventh day, God rested. God deemed rest as holy, as sacred because He blessed the seventh day. He values rest so much that he dedicated an entire day, the Sabbath, to do nothing at all.
Later in Exodus, God gives the commandment to Moses in Exodus 20:8-11 to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Resting is a part of the Ten Commandments; God is telling up—commanding us—to rest.
It takes great faith to rest. For the Israelites, there are laws in Leviticus regarding the sabbatical year and the jubilee year. The principle behind these laws is that God is the ultimate owner of the Israelites’ land; thus, the Israelites shall not overwork or exploit the land. God speaks to Moses to tell His people that for six years the Israelites shall work the land. To gather in it fruits and whatever else it may yield, but in the seventh year, there shall be “Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord” (Lev. 25:4 NRSV). For the Israelites, a group who depended on the land for their livelihood must let the land rest by God’s command.
The Israelites must have a great faith in God in order to let the earth rest. It makes you have faith that God will provide—and He will.
There are many stories that involve followers and believers of God in the Bible having faith that God will provide. Often, we have the fear that if we rest, what we need—or what we think we need—will not be provided. This could be anything from studying for an exam or planning for your weekly Delight meeting. Whatever it is, you will not sustain until you find rest in God. But God provides. He provides in what He views as necessary for us, and we often forget that what we think we need is not reciprocal to what we actually need.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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 soul. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
My favorite verse in the Bible comes from Matthew where Jesus invites us to rest in Him. He is willing to take our burdens away from us to allow us to find sacred rest. He makes it easier to follow the Father’s commandment of rest. We live in a world where resting is viewed and looked upon as bad and that we have to be actively seeking and worshipping God all the time. While it is great to want to actively celebrate God constantly, He invites us to rest in Him. To take time and marvel at His creation that He spends six days creating. By resting, we get to spend time with Him in peace.
Take time to rest and marvel at His creation, to enjoy His splendor, and renew our spirit. By constantly planning for our future, we neglect the peasantry of rest. We cannot grow towards the future if we lose focus of our actual purpose. By halting in our busyness, we can find rest in God and His plan to provide and guide us down the path He designed in His creation.
Whatley Hamilton // @whatleyhamilton
Hi girlies! My name is Whatley Hamilton, born and raised in Nashville, TN and just graduated from Furman University, majoring in History and Religion. On any given day, you can find me drinking English Breakfast Tea, reading a good book, and listening to true crime podcasts! My favorite things to talk about are whales, my basset hound Louis (@louisthebassethound), and random biblical history facts. I love building and sharing in community, pouring into the lives of young women, seeking to find themselves and their relationship with our sweet Lord! I can’t wait to spend the next couple of months with you!