Dr. Mel Tavares
Rest for the Weary
Rest for the Weary © 2021 Dr. Mel Tavares
The COVID-19 Pandemic slowed the entire world to a snail’s pace. By choice or mandate, we stayed home and stayed safe. Not being accustomed to being home, many struggled to find ways to fill their days to no avail. The endless rat-race schedule succumbed to one of restful living. Families started spending recreational time together. Book sales increased. People began sleeping eight hours a night. Here we are in the Fall of 2021, and sadly, many have returned to frenzied pre-pandemic lifestyles, getting little rest as they race to and fro from activity to activity.
Sometimes resting doesn’t seem feasible. There are jobs to go to, sports for the kids, ministry work, and family responsibilities. With a never-ending list of people to serve and things to do, it may often seem impossible to find the time to rest.
What Does the Bible Say About Rest?
The word ‘rest’ is mentioned 275 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Clearly, God is concerned about us resting. Genesis 2: 1-3 is the verse I hear quoted most frequently when being encouraged to rest. God wasn’t tired after creating the world. He gave us the instructions as a model for how to keep a Sabbath Day. Genesis 2: 1-3 (NIV) says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
Hebrews 4:9-10 (NIV) refers to the model God created for us. “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.”
Some Christians interpret the seventh day as Saturday, and others interpret it as Sunday. I respect each interpretation. I use Fridays because I am in ministry Sunday-Thursday. The day of the week is not as important as the fact we need to take a day and rest from all of our work.
There is a need for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual rest.
Luke 5:16 (NKJV) says Jesus withdrew to pray. “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” Praying is a form of spiritual rest, during which we stop striving and commune with our Heavenly Father. It is not always possible to retreat away from the family or work, however, we can still find spiritual rest as we pray throughout our day.
Emotional and mental rest is as simple as stopping the mind-sapping stressful activities for just a few hours. Laughter is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22 (MEV) says, “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Getting together with friends and laughing over a cup of coffee or watching a clean Christian comedy can do wonders for restoring the soul. Medical reports show that laughter triggers the release of endorphins that improve our mental and physical health, and while it may not solve our problems-it certainly can act as a coping mechanism.
Jesus, being fully human, needed sleep just as we do. Do you remember the story found in Mark 4:35-41 of Jesus sleeping in the storm? His disciples were upset that He was sleeping and seemingly uncaring about the circumstances while the storm raged on. He was aware of the storm but peaceful in it. When storms are raging in our lives, we must still get the physical sleep our bodies need, doing so by resting in the knowledge that our Lord has the situation well in hand.
Whether you find yourself in need of emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual rest today, you can trust God to give it to you. Psalm 62:5 (NIV) says, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” Whatever your circumstance today, I pray you will determine to take the step of resting. Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for modeling for us the need to rest our spirit, mind, and body. Thank you for the hundreds of Scriptures that remind us of the need to rest and tell us how to achieve the rest. May we remember the rest you gave us during the pandemic when life slowed down and we left our hectic lifestyles behind. May we determine today to follow your instructions to live differently than the world, seeking times of rest during our day and take a day of Sabbath rest as well.
Questions 1. Do you need physical rest today? Have you been pushing your body hard? Lost sleep? Not taking a day to let your body recover from the long week?
2. Do you need to rest your mind and emotions? Are there circumstances, perhaps a storm, in your life causing you stress, worry, anxiety, and emotional pain?
3. Do you need spiritual rest? Has it been a while since you spent extended time praying and talking with the Lord? Have you been seeking direction and answers but been too busy to listen for the answers in His still, small voice? Do you set aside time to read and meditate on the Word of God?
4. What step (s) will you take to make sure you take the time to rest?