Resting My Heart in Jesus
Jan 08, 2017 03:57AM
● By Bonnie Lyn Smith
The text came in asking how I was doing after I accomplished something emotionally very difficult.
My answer was: “Thank you so much for asking. I’ll be okay. I’m resting my heart in Jesus.”
Wow, that sounds so, well, cozy, but what does that even mean?
I’m so glad you asked! Here’s what Jesus has to say about rest. Soul rest. Heart rest. Eternal rest.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Yes, it’s true, that this verse can be seen in light of the eternal rest we receive when we leave this life and enter a new one with Christ, who paved the way for us on the cross so that we could be with God the Father, covered by the blood of His precious Son.
But it also means that when we bring our life burdens to Jesus—big or small—He can be trusted to lighten our load. It doesn’t mean our woes are removed.
When we bring a weighty concern to a close, trusted friend or family member, especially if they share our faith, there is slight relief in knowing we aren’t alone. They are committed to walking alongside us. And for part of the time anyway, perhaps our shoulders feel lightened.
But they can’t give us rest, not soul and heart rest. Not in a lasting way.
But Jesus can.
The Bible has so much to say about rest.
(All verses are from the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all emphases are mine.)
Rest was apparently important enough to set aside as its own day, the Sabbath. It was both for obedience and worship to consecrate the day to the LORD as well as it was a built-in time of refreshment. What a gift!
…he said to them, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.'”
God even gave the land, animals, and servants and foreigners rest. Provision!
…but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard. Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.
God is clearly the Giver of rest. In this case, His presence is associated with giving rest. Just being with Him is restful!
And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Many times in the Bible, God refers to giving Israel rest from its enemies. Can you imagine if there never had been any rest there? What mercy! Do you need rest from your enemies? Only God can give you that.
Therefore when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.
In this case, the land rested from war, not crops. Who but God would include something so important in His plan for His people? Oh, that the nations at war throughout the world would call on the name of the LORD and experience this rest!
So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.
After all the turmoil and battle in King David’s life, God promised David’s son Solomon a peaceful reign. Not only did Israel need this rest as a nation, but the family line of David needed it as well.
1 Chronicles 22:9
Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days.
What an amazing passage to read in 1 Chronicles where King David built a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD. “The footstool of our God!”
1 Chronicles 28:2
Then King David rose to his feet and said: “Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God, and I made preparations for building.
Along the lines of rest from enemies, Job referred to weary hearts in need of rest from the wicked as he expressed his wish to be like the child who never entered the world of pain and sadness.
Do you ever cry out to God like Job? Does your heart ever feel that heavy, defeated, overwhelmed?
Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child,
as infants who never see the light?
There the wicked cease from troubling,
and there the weary are at rest.
The Psalmist referenced what true rest was, God’s rest, and that people who “go astray in their heart” will not enter His rest. The Revelation passage stated something similar.
For forty years I loathed that generation and said, "They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways."
Therefore I swore in my wrath, "They shall not enter my rest."
And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
While that is certainly a warning, it’s also a blessing when you consider that His rest is something to be entered into when you are among those who believe. Just beautiful!
For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
“As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,'” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
Rest is also a place to return to. A soul’s rest. It can be found in God’s presence, walking before Him in the land of the living.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
Do you see the promise in this one? God can give us rest from our pain and turmoil.
When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: "How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!”
Who rests in their beds? The upright!
The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
he enters into peace;
they rest in their beds
who walk in their uprightness.
In the New Testament, we find another clue about what doesn’t find rest: unclean spirits. Why? Because anything unclean cannot be in the presence of a Holy God, and in God’s presence is rest.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none.
According to Jesus as he spoke with His disciples, there is a time for rest,
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
but there is also a time to be alert.
Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
It’s a New Year. Resolutions are made. Routines started. Will you make a commitment to honor rest in the way that God asked us to?
Will you do the ultimate, and
rest in His promises?
Please join me, and rest your heart in Jesus.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.