Seasons are a part of life. They breeze into our lives, especially in Kansas where breezy is generally an understatement, and then they quietly give way to a new one. Some seasons are more enjoyable than others. I much prefer the sunny, mild days of spring to the harsh, icy days of winter. But every season provides the needs for the next, and there is beauty to be found in each one. These are the rhythms, constant and reliable, that we depend on.
The seasons of life are constantly changing, as well, though not quite as predictably. My teenagers are preparing for adulthood, my middle schooler for high school, and I am preparing for an empty nest in just a few short years. It could not possibly be that long ago that I had 3 tiny tornados under the age of 5, creating masterpieces of dry noodles and glitter. And it will be an equally short glimmer of time, if the Lord doesn’t return soon, that the winter of my life will make its way toward its close. Life is full, but it is short; just a breath, really. Imperfectly beautiful in its season until it gives way to the long season of eternity.
Before eternity, there are so many needs that must be filled, purposes that must be worked out, dreams to pursue, and work that must be done. I spend much time focused on the day to day tasks, and rarely check everything off of my to-do list. The challenge for me is not hard work, however. Type A personalities rarely struggle to find better, more efficient ways to work. The challenge is to seek rest in the midst of all the crazy. God knew there were some who would need a command to rest. So, the God of all Creation, who needs nothing, carved out a day of rest for Himself to serve as an example to His limited, very needy creation.
Exodus 20:9-11 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
I found that this command goes deeper than just making people slow down and take the time to breathe, however.
When God’s people were wandering in the wilderness, He gave them the command for rest on the Sabbath. What did they have to do to prepare for the Sabbath day? At that time, their bread was manna, a sweetened, cracker-like substance that God left on the ground for them to gather each day. They were to gather two days worth of manna on the sixth day. In order for them to have a comfortable rest on the Sabbath, preparation according to God’s command needed to be followed. And so it is with every season of our lives. If we want our marriage to have rest, there is work that must be done to prepare for that rest. If we want our children to give us rest, there is labor involved in training them and teaching them to help and to obey. If my teenagers want to have successful, peaceful life, the decisions they make now, and the work they put into their education, will have lasting effects on their future. If we want to know for sure that heaven is our home after we die, preparation must be made now to accept the work Jesus did on the cross on our behalf . True rest always requires preparation.
1. Cessation of motion or action of any kind, and applicable to any body or being; as rest from labor; rest from mental exertion; rest of body or mind. A body is at rest when it ceases to move; the mind is at rest when it ceases to be disturbed or agitated; the sea is never at rest Hence, 2. Quiet; repose; a state free from motion or disturbance; a state of reconciliation to God. http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/rest
“A state free from disturbance…”
So what disturbs our rest? What keeps us from enjoying the rest that God knew we would so desperately need?
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:18-19
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. Hebrews 4:9-11
Unbelief, the one thing that prevented God’s people from entering the Promised Land they had so longed for after their escape from Egypt, hinders our rest, as well. Note that Hebrews 4:9 points out that we have to cease from our own works. When we accept salvation through Christ alone and His work on our behalf on the cross, we are acknowledging that our works are not enough. We are agreeing with God that our good works are as filthy rags, and that we need Jesus to wash us and make us right with God through Him. We enter in His rest by believing His Word.
So it follows then that once we’ve entered our Christian life, rest will follow in every season of our life that we cease from our own works and ways, believe His Word, and obey Him. I love how Jesus always words things so precisely and in perfect order.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29
Life wears me out, and burdens weigh me down. There are still areas of my life that do not have rest. Where can I go to find solutions? Where can I find peace in the chaos of the ever-changing seasons?
Jesus says, “Come to Me.” I have yet to find a permanent solution in man’s wisdom. Netflix, social media, sports, or hobbies can only distract me, not give me any answers. There is no end of self-help books written on every aspect of life, and yet, they are still being written, because they are not enough to solve man’s problems. But Jesus offers real rest. He says “Take My yoke upon you,” before He adds, “And learn of Me.” “Put your yoke down, walk My way, and learn of Me as you do.” And out of that relationship with Him, He promises true rest for our souls, no matter which season our lives currently reside.
There is much more in His Word to explore about finding rest for our souls, and this post just barely scratches the surface. I may get to delve a little deeper in the next one, but here are a few passages that you can study on your own.
Psalm 4:4, 37, 38:3, 62:5, 94:12-13, 95:10-11, 116:7-9, 131:2, Isaiah 28:10, 30:15, Jeremiah 6:16, Hebrews 3 & 4, 1 Peter 2:21-23. ❤️