In returningand rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
About a year ago I was doing a study on the spiritual disciplines. It was just a small short study on some of the things that we can do to focus and turn our attention to God. One of the disciplines dealt with silence and rest. The verse they gave was this verse in Isaiah.
As I read this today in my daily reading I was stuck by the utter foolishness of this verse. Try telling your boss that your rest will save the company from failing. Thy telling someone in a burning building that they need to be quite and rest.
Yet this is what God instructs us to do. But we need to understand how we are to rest...
We live in a culture and time where there is little rest. We live in a time of cell phones, blackberries, and the ability to work anywhere. We are defined by what we do. As a society we are always striving for more. For those of you who get tired of striving, there is someone right behind you willing to do the same job for less. Rest is not something that comes east to us. And its not just work that we do not get to rest from. Its relationships, it is children, it is family, it is friends.
There is a silent mummer of work that lies under all we do. We want self-assurance that we are someone. We want to progress in what we do. We want a raise, a faster car (at least I want a faster car - those can never be fast enough ), more, more, more. There is a need to know we matter. We are always working towards something and it is never enough.
Yet how are we to rest? How are we to be satisfied in what we do? How can we rest? How shall we be silent? How shall our quite be our strength? How can we imitate God, look at our work, and say It is Good?
My dear friend CJ Mahaney and C.H. Spurgeon have trained me to dwell near the cross when looking for answers to most questions. They have shown me that Jesus and the Cross hold the answers to most questions one might ask. The question of rest is no different.
The savior is the one who beckons us to rest in Matthew 11:28-30. Jesus calls us to come. He says 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. Jesus is calling us to rest. He tells us that is by learning from him we will find rest.
Yet what about those who have not come to the savior? Can they find rest? Isaiah 57:20-21 speaks to that. But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet,and its waters toss up mire and dirt. There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."
Yet what is it that Jesus has done so that we might have rest? It took place on the cross. Jesus took the restless of the wicked on himself so that we might have rest. The savior took the unrest of sin and wickedness and gives, to those who trust him, the rest of the righteousness. Christ has proved rest for all who will come.
That is why those who trust Christ are called to rest. They are called to be quite and simply rest in what Christ has done. To still work and strive for what the savior has already done mocks the Almighty. To work and strive is to tell the Father that the death of the Son he loved was not needed.
Yet often times my words fail to capture the truth of scripture. I find that song writers and theologians are far more eloquent than I. There is a Hymn called In Christ Alone. The first verse captures rest so well.
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my
strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when
My Comforter, my All in All
the love of Christ I stand
Live in light of the cross. Dwell near the blazing center of Gods love. Rest. Think of the restlessness that Christ suffered so that his bride might have rest. It is only by resting in Christ that salvation will ever come.