"God as our Rest"
One of the lessons you learn when writing and composing music is how how the space between the notes is just as important as the notes themselves. It can be the difference between a listenable and enjoyable experience and noise. In technical terms a rest is an interval of silence.
I think most of us could use an interval of silence now and again. As a culture we’ve found a lot of ways to fill up our schedule and we have six different electronic devices to keep track of that schedule. We hot sync one and mobile upload the other. There are status updates and push notifications and I’m sure google or apple is making some sort of announcement on some life changing system as you read.
So in a world full of things designed to make our life more simple and streamlined we’ve buried ourselves under a not so sweet pile of blackberry's, blue tooth's, apples, and things starting with the letter i. It’s funny how, for so many of us, rest is something we desperately need. And yet, when the concept of God commanding us to rest comes up we cringe like He’s asking us to spend on day a week at the dentist.
9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their [those who hear but do not obey the word] example of disobedience.
Rest should not be viewed as a weighty command but rather as a gift. It’s a “benefit” of being in the family. Of course you can only pause from what you are doing if you are in fact doing something. I’m not convinced God paused on the seventh day because he was tired. I like to imagine him sitting in an Adirondack chair, leaning way back, with His hands clasped behind his head, with a tall glass of lemonade. I like to think the Sabbath was similar to that moment when you finish eating an amazing meal, where you just pause and say, ah that was good.
What a challenge. When was the last time you stopped to appreciate the good in life?
Sometimes that rest is just for us, but true rest is always through Him. In Matt 11 Jesus says something to the effect of, “Come to me, and will give you rest.” There’s a give and take with rest. He is faithful to give it, but we have to come. And that’s the tough part. Learning to live in “awkward silence” with God. But the space between the "moments" can be just as beautiful for the story as the moments themselves. Part of embracing rest is learning to love the middle. Many I’ve found myself looking forward, with so much anticipation for what comes next that I totally miss out on what’s happening now.
Always looking forward to the next part of my life
I can not wait for moving on
Why does the future always seem to be so bright
I’m paralyzed by the dawn
Here’s a little diagram of how I perceived life. The dashes represent things like;
birth, getting your license, graduation, marriage, promotion, retirement, and the x is death.
What I realized though, is that life actually happens in the space between the lines. Just a as music lives in the moments of rest between the notes. What didn’t click until years later was that my relationship with God is not really marked by the proverbial “Mountain Top” experiences (retreats, conferences, great worship nights, etc.) but in the quiet places. The times where I have to struggle to hear God. The times when he builds my character. It is in these moments I come to Him and he meets me with rest and with peace. If we wait to enjoy peace and rest until everything is perfect we’ll be waiting for Godot. I think it’s about slowly redefining stability as internal easiness amidst external difficulties.
“O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!
27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”