How Do You Rest?
Updated: Feb 13, 2019
How do you rest? Think about what you do when you have one of those rare moments where you can stop to rest. Whether it's a day off from work or a surprise “snow day” or on those very rare times when the weekend comes upon you and you don't have something planned. What do you do? How do you rest?
The other day I was reading in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 6, I came across the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000. It’s an exciting account with lots of drama and a wonderful climactic ending for the disciples. However, tucked away before and after the account I came across an insight I had not seen before and it sorely convicted me.
You see, Jesus ended up in a desolate area with over 5,000 people around him because he was trying to get away to have a quiet time with his disciples. So he calls his disciples into their boat(s) and they push off to a desolate place for rest.
We immediately learn that the place wasn't that far away and somehow, someway the people heard where they were heading and they decided to travel on foot. The winds probably slowed them down because the people arrived to the place of rest before Jesus and his disciples. Mark tells us that Jesus had so much compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he put aside his rest and ministered to the people. As day gets late he feeds the people (it was a little more dramatic than this but its not my focus, read the text and enjoy the account). In the Gospel of John we learn that because of his feeding miracle the people were ready to make him king, so since Jesus did not wish to move in this direction and it was not yet his time, he sends the disciples away and he goes to the mountain by himself to rest.
Now here is what I wish to focus on. Jesus was already tired when he began his journey. Upon arriving to his resting place he was met by the people and he continued to minister to them all day. At the end of the day, when he breaks away and walks off into the mountain Jesus sets off to rest. How does Jesus rest?
He spends the night in prayer with God. It is so simple yet I contend that this principle is so easily lost on us. To rest is to be replenished, to be restored, to gain strength once again. How does Jesus achieve this? By devoting himself to hours of prayer with God the Father.
Why does this convict me? Because so often rest for me is simply to be preoccupied with something else, or to allow myself to enter into a vegetative state by watching tv or simply doing nothing. From a spiritual perspective when I do these things I am simply further depleting myself and not moving towards restoration at all.
When we rest, we can’t simply think of it from a biological or emotional perspective. When we claim to seek rest perhaps we ought to follow Jesus’ example and pursue to be nourished, refilled and renewed by the caring Spirit of God. Prayer is not to be a chore or a course of last resort but a venue to connect us with God and allow God’s spirit to breathe new life into us. With that new life comes new vision, new energy, new perspective and a new sense of direction to move in accordance with God’s will.
Be still, allow the Spirit of God to nurture you. Edge the world out and let God in. Bask in His presence, don't perform, just be. Talk to God from the deepest part of your soul, be real and find rest.
Let us learn to rest as Jesus rested, in the presence of God.