“Oh, you’re staying at a bed and breakfast?” The teenage diner waitress showed sweet, small-town, hospitality as she made small talk. “What are you in town for?”
“Oh, I’m, umm . . . resting?” I laughed, realizing that must sound ridiculous.
She raised an eyebrow, smiled and said, “Well, we all need that every once in a while.”
And she’s right, of course. But I am a terrible rester. This is an area where I find my deepest need for the Gospel. Where I need to keep turning from frantic works to His finished work. Where I need to keep finding my identity in Jesus instead of finding my identity in how many things I’ve accomplished. Where I need to consciously trust His ability to heal people more than my ability to hustle. Where I need to believe that God doesn’t love us because we are good, but He is making us good because He loves us.
(By the way, try-harder hustle doesn’t lead to a fruitful life, it leads just where you would expect it too. Exhausted, lonely and losing sight of the reasons why we’re here.)
So, a wise friend sent me to a bed and breakfast. Escape Route 508, if you need to rest, go there immediately. And you too will be texting your friends, “Good Morning from Heaven” over impossibly picturesque breakfasts.
It’s easy to cease working in places like this, but my nagging question is how to maintain a quiet heart in the thick of life.
I’ve soaked in Matthew 11 – “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.”
This tells me that there is a Rest that can be sustained through the storms of life. The Sabbath principle, bed and breakfast hiatus’, a good meal with people you love are good gifts, and all mere shadows of the real Rest. These things are meant to point our hearts to Him. All the times we get to cease working and breath deeply is a direct reflection of what Jesus has accomplished on a far deeper level. As Matthew Henry says, “Rest for the soul is the most desirable rest; to have the soul to dwell at ease.”
What a relief that is! To quote MH further, “Jesus Christ will give assured rest to those weary souls, that by a lively faith come to him for it; rest from the terror of sin, in a well-grounded peace of conscience; rest from the power of sin, in a regular order of the soul, and its due government of itself; a rest in God, and a complacency of soul, in his love.”
He didn’t just give us the example and principle of the Sabbath to round out a job well done. He’s doing a thousand things in our heart as we cease striving and rest in Him. Reminding us that He is God and we are not. Reminding us that we are finite and He is infinite. He’s rejuvenating our mind, body and soul. Always bringing life. Always freeing us from fear, from the sin that binds us and the burdens the weigh us down.
At ease, Soul. Go ahead and breathe that sigh of relief.