It’s pretty easy to find books, articles, sermons, and advice about how to find rest in Jesus. We live in a stressed and stressful world. We find ourselves on an unforgiving hamster wheel within a particularly manic society within that stressful world. Ironically, though, I think that much of the advice we’re given misses the mark because it aims at the wrong thing to begin with.
We ask God for peace, for rest. All fine and good. But did you know God is looking for rest too? Yup. It’s true.
“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool,” God declares in Isaiah 66:1. “Where is the house you will build for me? Where will MY resting place be?”
Is it in a church? A magnificent temple of gold and silk? No.
“This is the one I esteem: He who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” (:2)
Sometimes when I get home from work my brain is flying a hundred miles an hour with fumes in the gas tank and all I want is to find a little peace and quiet. Imagine my frustration when I open the door and find Shauna with arms crossed because my pubescent twelve year old is in a hormonal funk and the younger two have been arguing nonstop since they got home from school. I want to disappear. I also want to be a good daddy, though, so I roll up my sleeves and help turn things around. With a groan and a sigh.
But wouldn’t it be nice to come home to an absence of conflict, to discover a place where my soul can rest and be rejuvinated?
“Tell me about it,” God says. “The Spirit… and the sinful nature… are (perpetually) in conflict with each other,” (Galatians 5:17). You can hear God’s epic sigh already present in Genesis, where he says, “Every inclination of the thoughts of (their) heart is evil all the time,” (Genesis 6:5). It’s why he finally said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal. His days will be a hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:3). There. Let’s put a cap on this thing.
Back to the cry of his heart in Isaiah: “Isn’t there a single heart on earth where I can dwell in peace without having to constantly wrestle with rank evil? A heart that is humble—meek, not prideful? A heart that is contrite—broken, not resisting? A heart that trembles at my word—reverent, not rationalizing. A place where I hear “Yes, Lord,” more than “No, Lord?”
Question: Is your heart a place where God can rest? Or is it the Gaza strip? Because if God is at rest in you, I’ve got good news: you’ll be at rest in him. The surest way to be at peace in the world is to give God some peace inside yourself. When God asks a question, he wants an answer:
“Where will my resting place be?”
I rise up on tentative legs, unsure but filled with love for my God. “Father, humble and break me until I become a true sanctuary for you. I want to be your resting place in a world that ever resists you.”