Last weekend, my church had its first annual ‘Day of Beauty.’
Women were invited to come and experience a day of pampering of both the body and spirit. We had lunch, goodie bags, foot massages, great conversation and lots and lots of chocolate! As the day progressed I was able to let my mind drift away from the mundane. All thoughts of my children, my husband, laundry, dinner, errands and the like drifted away, and all that was left was me . . . and the Lord.
It is awesome how He speaks when we quiet ourselves. Somewhere in the midst of the foot soak and the paraffin hand dip, I heard His soft voice speaking. ‘Why didn’t you do this sooner?’ Of course, in my finite wisdom, I thought that He was talking about being pampered. However, as I began to listen, I realized that He was talking to me about letting go. In the process of the day, I had handed over my troubles to Him. They were no longer a burden. They had ceased to come between me and the rest that He longed to give me.
The idea of rest has many of us beating our heads against a wall. I have often said, ‘I am not going to do anything today,’ and when the day was over, I wondered why I didn’t feel rested. I had been at rest, but I hadn’t actually rested. As a society, our days are filled with the presence of other people. With over six-and-a-half billion people in the world, it’s hard to get away. We can’t go anywhere without our cell phones, our email and our plethora of gadgets. It seems the only time we ever really get by ourselves is when we are asleep.
In Matthew 8, Jesus’ disciples find themselves in a precarious situation, in the midst of a horrible storm. And their Teacher, their Lord, has fallen asleep. How anyone could sleep through a drenching storm like that is beyond me, and it was beyond the disciples. But even in His exhausted state Jesus was showing His followers how to rest, no matter where they were.
Jesus knew that resting was so much more than just a physical state of being.
It was not about closing His eyes and sleeping through a storm. It was about releasing His thoughts and casting them upon the Lord. Many times the Gospels tell us that Christ ‘withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’ He moved from an area where He was constantly surrounded, to a place of solitude, and opened up His heart and spirit to the Lord. For Jesus to have rest He had to remove himself from His dearest followers and from the people who so desperately needed Him. We too need to remove ourselves from our daily distractions so that we can find true rest.
Finding that kind of rest is not always easy, but it can be done. We can turn off our cell phones, forget our email, lock the bedroom door and withdraw into a place of solitude. Once there we need to withdraw further and allow our minds to escape from those nagging thoughts of laundry, dishes, school, work and life in general. Then the Lord can come in and show us His rest. He can recharge us with His energy and give us the rest we so desperately need.