6 Keys to Finding Rest

I’m tired.  I need rest.

Just ask anyone who has asked how I’m doing. Just ask my husband.

I have good reasons to be so weary: Lots of travel. Many ministry activities. Wonderful times with family. The death of my dear friend and mentor, Vonette. Lack of adequate sleep. Poor eating habits. Not enough exercise.

Any of these can contribute to tiredness. Together they add up to exhaustion.

Most of them I have within my power to make some changes, but not all. I am seeking to make those changes I can.

But change can take time. And some of weariness comes from things I can’t change. So I have to go to the real source of rest—to God Himself.

Oh, how generous He is in giving rest. Just look at these assurances.

Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)

There is rest in the presence of God

God is always there for me. He knows and feels my deepest pain; He listens and weeps and encourages and even prays. He invites me to lean on Him, His everlasting arms are always waiting to catch me, His right hand reaches out to pull me up.

He says to you and to me, as He said to Moses: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).

Jesus Himself reminds us: “…I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)

The apostle John assures us, “…we set our hearts at rest in His presence” (1 John 3:19).

Spending time with my God brings rest.

There is rest in repentance

Our own choices—yes, our own sin—can bring great weariness.

Sometimes my sin is obvious. Other times I need to ask God to show me where I am falling short. I have found Psalms 32 and 51 especially helpful.

Then the Father says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength… (Isaiah 30:15).

Admitting my sin frees me to rest.

There is rest in forgiveness

Unforgiveness wears me out. If I keep remembering how someone has hurt me, or let an offense fester, or fail to forgive words spoken against me, or hold on to a grudge, I pay the price. God’s Word reminds us:

Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” (Luke 17:4)

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).

Forgiving lifts such a burden from my mind and my heart.

There is rest in giving thanks

I am grateful for God’s many good gifts in my life, though some times I don’t bother to thank Him.

When I am distressed, or fearful, or worried—or even angry –in my circumstances, I can hardly imagine thanking Him.

Yet that is exactly what He asks to do--to give thanks: …give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Gratitude is a wonderful rest giver.

There is rest in obedience

Resisting God’s instructions to us can be exhausting. See what the writer of Hebrews tells us:

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it….because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed…Now we who have believed enter that rest….Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.”…  

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

…Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:1-7).

Saying "yes, Lord" leads to rest.

There is rest in persevering

Waiting makes me tired. Pushing through hard circumstances brings fatigue. Fighting cancer, a prodigal child, a difficult relationship, financial concerns, unemployment—all steal our energy, our strength.

God says, “Persevere.”

…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3).

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised (Hebrews 10:35-36).

Not giving up can be restful.

So claim this promise given through Isaiah:

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary

and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40:28-31)

And hear the words of Jesus to each of us. Respond and discover a truly supernatural rest:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)

What about you? What has helped you find rest?

C2016 Judy Douglass

You can read more in my free e-book on Finding Rest.