Seeking Elusive Rest

Posted on August 17, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

“O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” Psalm 55:6

The Psalmist captures an attitude that seems so prevalent in our hectic pace of life. The demands of family, work and over-committed schedules put us in bondage to lives with little margin. We wilt under the burden of responsibilities and wish we could just get away from it all.

We think, “If I didn’t have to face another 40-hour week of the same old routine and work that never gets done,” or “If I could just get up one morning without being confronted by fussy kids, a messy house, meals to fix and shopping to do.” Even church seems to contribute to the dilemma with expectations we will show up for worship, Bible study, choir practice, committee assignments and community work projects.

Our modern world and complex society aren’t an asset to time management; the allure of time in front of the television, immediate electronic access to an array of the latest movies or immersion in social networking is justified by our need to escape, but they do not provide the elusive rest our soul longs for.

The world is not going to stop and let us get off for a few days. That is not the solution or the detour from the road to burn-out. We cannot just fly away as if we had the wings of a dove. Neither is a vacation the answer; a few days in the mountains or a beach resort is a short-lived, artificial antidote to our exhausting dilemma. We certainly need those occasional times of respite, but we arrive home to accumulated tasks and responsibilities that didn’t vanish while we were gone.

The solution is finding a constant rest in the midst of the reality of the daily grind. Jesus reminded us that He is waiting in the wings to take our burden and provide the rest we yearn for. In fact, the Psalmist goes on to recognize the answer to his dilemma: “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you” (Ps. 55:22).

The way that works is explained in Psalm 37–delight yourself in the Lord, commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him, and the conclusion is to then “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7). The process begins with the confidence that Jesus knows and understands our weariness, the burden of responsibilities and the pressures of life we are experiencing.

And He says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in hear; and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). We can relinquish our burden to Him. He doesn’t yoke us to that hectic lifestyle. In His presence we find release and are restored to a refreshing gentleness and humble heart.

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