It’s an exception, I know, to the “re—” rhythm. But certainly not to life.
If you desire to come closer to God, rest is unavoidable. It puts a fresh spin on the imagination. It creates a wider perspective. Rest.
Rest ensures ample opportunities. Collect your thoughts. Enjoy nature. Drink some coffee. Find the energy required to continue. But most importantly, rest is a taxi to the presence of God.
Jesus often rests throughout scripture. Take a look.
“Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place…” (Luke 4:42).
“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (Luke 5:16).
“One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night” (Luke 6:12).
“As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap…” (Luke 8:23).
“One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him…” (Luke 9:18).
“About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray” (Luke 9:28).
“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1).
Is it just me, or does Jesus pray almost every time He rests? I mean, no wonder the disciples are so curious. Jesus shows us a valuable lesson: rest never excludes God. If you desire real rest, deliberately seek the arms of your Father.
All too often, however, I fill my weariness with more self-discipline. I believe God wants me to try harder and do more. If I just push a little harder, I ponder, things will work out. But Jesus shows me otherwise.
Let’s focus on the second verse of Psalm 23. It reads, “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams” (NLT).
Your heavenly Father isn’t always commanding you to work. He willingly provides rest to His tired children. God probably isn’t shouting, “Do more.” No, if anything, He’s trying to say, “Do less.”
Actually, God doesn’t just recommend you rest. It’s not a preference. Not an option. No choice. How do I know?
Another translation of Psalm 23:2 says, “He maketh me to lie down…” (KJV).
Maybe you think something like this: “God wants more from me. He’s always demanding this or that. More Bible reading. More prayer. More time with family. Yada, Yada.”
But according to Psalm 23:2, God’s demanding you to do one task—rest. In the imagery of the Psalm, it’s lying in the grass or walking alongside a trickle of water. For you, it may be taking a nap or sipping some tea. Then again, I enjoy walking. But lay in the grass?
Remember the lesson Jesus teaches us about rest? That’s right, prayer. Five of the seven instances I share involve prayer. The power of His rest isn’t as much about a place as it is about the presence of His Father.
Often times, however, routines develop. Methods are formed. People prefer to rest differently. That’s cool. Just don’t forget to rest with God. Don’t get so caught up in a morning Bible study that you forget the purpose. Refuse to live a checklist. It’s not about going through motions. God isn’t about to smack you because you missed Sunday School last week. Many routines are good. Bible readings are fantastic. Sunday School rocks. But it’s not about those things. It’s about Jesus. Just Jesus.
In His approach, Jesus shows an important truth: the who supersedes the how and where.
Sure, Jesus has a routine for rest. Luke 21:37 says, “Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives.” But it’s not merely about the location—or even the method—of His rest. It’s about who He seeks in the process.
Be sure to rest with Jesus today—your Shepherd. Let His redemptive love swaddle you. Real rest cannot happen outside the presence of God.
Jesus himself claims, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest…” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG). No exceptions!