Sweet little nephew, Noah
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.” —Matthew 11:28
Will we ever learn to get out of our own way? How often do we wear ourselves out or get depressed simply because we stubbornly insist on doing everything ourselves and we refuse to ask for help or take time to rest and renew ourselves? (Or is it just me?)
Even if we are trying to accomplish work in the service of God, if we are relying on our own strengths, our own natural powers, then it is still possible that God may not bless our efforts.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” —John 15:4–6
Natural powers are whatever we can do without the help of God. You know, the skills that certain people just seem to be born with: being a good cook, a talented singer, a gifted athlete, a powerful writer. If someone is a natural organizer, and you give that person the task of organizing a project, how hard will he/she pray before jumping into the task? Probably not at all. If we are comfortable in what we are being asked to do, we tend to jump right in with no thoughts of seeking Godly counsel.
“If he is accustomed to depend on his natural gifts, he may feel no need to cry to God. The trouble with us all is that there are so many things we can do without relying upon God.” (Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee, p. 56) But that doesn’t mean we should be.
Sometimes we need to experience trials or setbacks or to be brought to a place where, even though we could do it on our own, we still respond with dependence on God and seek His guidance before we act. Or sometimes we are brought to a point where we are forced to rest. I feel like that has been happening to me a lot lately. There are some days when I have all of these plans and items on my “to do” list. But then I wake up to start the day, and I just don’t have the energy to get any of it done. I end up spending way too much time on the couch, dozing (well, that’s on the weekends anyway). I don’t know if it’s the Fibro, the medication I’m on, or just my body’s need for this season.
So, I’ve been thinking. Maybe God has been trying to get my attention. My mind often goes a mile a minute. I’m one of those planners, and I like to figure out things way in advance. I act out scenarios in my head, thinking about what I would say or how I would react in response to something someone else might do or say. I make up lists. I worry about things that haven’t even happened yet (even though I know I shouldn’t worry). I bet God has a hard time getting through all that noise and clutter in my head.
What about you? How often do you talk to God each day? Or better yet, how often do you listen? Do you start your day with prayer? Do you pray at night before you go to sleep? Do you only pray when you are in trouble or worried? We should be praying/talking to God throughout the day—during the good and the bad. He should be the first one we think to converse with no matter what the topic. It’s a great way to develop a closer, stronger relationship with Him and to stay in step with what He has planned for our lives.
“God never asks us to do anything we can do. He asks us to live a life which we can never live and to do a work which we can never do. Yet by his grace, we are living it and doing it.” (Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee, p. 58)
And then after the praying, we should be taking time to quiet our minds, read the Bible and some uplifting devotionals, talk to spiritually strong friends … and just take time to be still and listen. You never know who or what God might use to speak to you.
Also, instead of just praying about our troubles or even giving thanks for our blessings, maybe we need to be asking God if there’s something specific He wants us to be doing. We sometimes get so comfortable with where we are in our lives, maybe we’re afraid to talk to God and ask Him if there is something we should change. What if He wants us to give up our comfortable life? What if He asks us to do things we don’t feel like we are qualified to do?
I think that is exactly what God tends to do. Because if we accomplish great things through our own natural abilities, how does that glorify Him? I believe He likes to take us in our weakness and, when we let Him, show his strength through us in order to bring others close to Him as well.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” —2 Corinthians 12:9
Here is a devotional that I read the other day that I think ties in well with the current message of rest that I believe God has been speaking to my heart … maybe it applies to you too:
“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms.” —Ephesians 2:6 NIV
You are seated with Christ. That means you are in a place of rest. God doesn’t want you standing up and nervously fretting and pacing about. Let His peace calm your anxious heart. Are you waiting on God for an answer to something you’ve prayed about? Stay seated. He is faithful.
Do you lack understanding? Stay seated. The light will come.
Do you have a need you can’t meet? Stay seated. He will provide.
Are you facing a problem you can’t solve? Stay seated. His grace is sufficient.
Are you unsure of what is ahead? Stay seated. He is in control and knows the way.
Roy Lessin, Meet Me in the Meadow, January 14, 2011, http://roy.dayspring.com/
I hope that you will join me in asking God for the strength that it sometimes takes to allow yourself rest. Stay seated … and you too can enjoy both rest and peace through Him.
My sweet niece, Josephine
“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope…” —Acts 2:26
“The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.” —Psalm 29:11
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:7