It’s safe to say that we’re not good at resting. Life is busy, and just keeping up with what’s going on is enough to make our heads spin. I’m getting ready to leave for vacation, and before it even gets here, I find myself planning to fill up the time with books I want to read and activities I want to do. And that makes me worry about vacation hangover. You know what I mean: the 24-hour lull that takes place upon returning, where you feel more tired than you did before you left.
But what I really want and really need isn’t simply a vacation but spiritual rest. This is different than relaxing. It’s a biblical mandate established all the way back in Genesis 2 when God rested from His work of creating the universe. He commanded His people from the very beginning to rest from their labor in order to celebrate and worship. And I have no idea how to do this.
In Hebrews 3 and 4, we learn that the Israelites did not enter the rest of the Promised Land because they refused to trust in the Lord. They complained and whined and created a golden calf, all because they weren’t willing to wait on Him and believe in His promises. I don’t know about you, but I find my name scrawled all over that passage. Unbelief. Hard-heartedness. Rebellion. I want what I want when I want it, and I don’t want to trust the Lord to handle the outcomes.
But here’s a beautiful truth: When the writer of Hebrews talks about the rest we can enter because of Christ, he speaks of a reality we can live in now and a reality to come. In our wrestle to obey, we can rest now because we have been adopted into His family. There is security in our hearts because of who He is and that His promises will come true. He holds our hearts and destinies, which frees us now because He’s good and loves us and has His own glory in mind.
Spiritual rest lies in worship, in trusting and dwelling upon God’s character. And when I can’t seem to rest, I need to recognize that it’s because I don’t trust Him as being sovereign over my relationships and tasks.
Hebrews 4:11 admonishes us to strive to enter God’s rest. In chapter one, the writer says Jesus is “the radiance of the glory of God, and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3). Striving to enter His rest means meditating on this truth and believing it by faith.
Here are some questions to think about as we strive to enter God’s rest:
When we meditate on the faithfulness of God, we discover a rest far better than any vacation can offer. May that better rest become a reality for all of us who call on the name of the Lord.