Published February 25, 2017 on my closed blog ggmandy dot com
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
Have you ever felt like you have been run down by a speeding train?
Did you know? “There’s an app for that! 🙂 When I was a kid, we were taught that when you come to a railroad track, STOP, LOOK, & LISTEN. Trains can only go where there are tracks, so pay attention. Don’t proceed until you come to a complete stop, then look and see if anything is coming, then listen for anything that might be coming down the tracks.
I wonder …
The scriptures are full of examples and admonitions for us to slow and spend time with the Lord. Right from the beginning, God came in the cool of the day to speak with Adam (Genesis 3:8). Even before that God Himself rested after 6 days of work (Hebrews 4:4). Even Jesus would often withdraw from the crowds to pray. (Matthew 14:13-21)
And yet, we act as if we don’t really need to slow down.
We jump out of bed in the morning, throw on some clothes, down a cup of coffee, and run out the door. Never once thinking of even a quick hello to the Lord or an invitation to Him to walk beside us throughout the day. It’s no wonder, we feel worn and weary.
How Do We Slow Ourselves to Rest?
And what about our Sundays?
When I was growing up, we did only what had to be done on Sundays. Even when the hay was ready to bale, it stayed on the ground for a day. Sundays were for attending church and resting. The most we ever did was maybe a “Sunday afternoon drive” or visiting family.
I recall asking Dad once,
“Why couldn’t the Lord allow the cows to give twice the milk on Saturday so that we wouldn’t have to milk them on Sunday as God did with providing manna to the Israelites?”
His answer pricked my heart.
“God might be willing to do that if we were willing to REALLY give Him the Sabbath.”
You see, what I wanted was to be able to go and play and have fun, not to actually take the day to slow down and worship God. It seems that when we “slow down” we are still filling our lives with stimulants that do not allow us the opportunity to rest and to fellowship with God.
There is little to no room for God.
We come home from work or play and immediately, we turn on our radios, TV, and internet.
No quiet for him to even get a word in edgewise.
Take a look from a practical point of view. Phyllis Korkki, at the New York Times, says
I know for myself when I was working, I would get where I seemed to not be making progress in my work. The best thing I could do was to go take a walk around the block. Breaks are helpful, so long as we aren’t using them to procrastinate.
What about meditation?
Studies show that regular meditation is a very beneficial activity. Anastasia Stephens lists seven benefits of meditation :
- Increased Immunity
- Emotional Balance
- Increased Fertility
- Relieves Irritable bowel syndrome
- Lowers blood pressure
Now, who couldn’t use a few of those benefits!
God told Joshua,
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
So, if we want to prosper, we MUST spend time meditating on the Word of God.
WHAT if THERE WERE NO RESTS IN MUSIC?
What kind of song would we get if only notes were played without regard to rests?
I was a percussionist in the high school band. While the bells were my favorite, I also played the timpani. But many times there were long measures of rests between notes. This was no fun. Just counting beats.
But these rests left time for tuning the instrument to the right note.
And THEN, at the right moment, what an awesome timpani sound rolled out.
We need these times of rest in our lives as well to tune ourselves to the drumbeat of God.
John Ruskins said,
“If we sorrowfully say to ourselves, ‘There is no music in a rest,’ let us not forget that the rest is part of the making of the music. The process is often slow and painful in this life, yet how patiently God works to teach us! And how long He waits for us to learn the lesson!”3
God can only speak to us in the quiet.
If we never slow down and listen, there is no chance for God to minister to us.
Oh, how He loves us and wants us to come and fellowship with Him. He wants to tell us so much.
If we would but stop, look and listen!