Psalm 46:10 famously says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Many of us might read this invitation as a nice idea, but an unlikely reality. I mean, can we really experience serenity and rest and peace in the midst of the noise and uncertainty of our world? In this post, I want to give an invitation to seek (and find) rest in God.
But before that, let’s just give some background. Why do we need peace and rest? Several reasons come to mind. First of all, the passage paints a context of an uncertain world in which the earth may give way and the mountains might fall into the sea. The world is filled with uncertainty. There are a lot of scary things that might happen. The very earth underneath us might quake at any moment.
We might get a cancer diagnosis for ourselves or a family member. We might lose our job to a recession or our family to a car accident. We might have a gunman walk into our child’s school. These are scary things! The uncertainty of life is enough—by itself—to show us that we need to find rest in God.
But there are other reasons why we need rest in God. We all deal with personal guilt and shame that brings us stress and striving. We deal with anxiety over the many options from which we must make choices. We deal with distractions from all the text messages, social media posts, news stories, and internet ads. We seldom have a quiet moment, and when we do we often fill that moment with music, a Netflix show, or a podcast. We need rest!
We are invited to find rest in God not only in Psalm 46:10, but also in a beautiful passage spoken by Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
According to Jesus, we find rest when we (a) come to him and (b) take on his yoke. In order to find rest in God, we need to stop looking for it in lazy Saturdays, in overeating, in binge-watching sessions, and in weekend partying. These things distract us from the only one who can truly give us soul-rest. Jesus invites us to come to him for rest. And coming to him means that we take on his yoke. This means that we trust and follow him in the way that he leads us. This means that we obey his commands, repent of our sins, trust him with our money, and pour out love to others.
You may read the above paragraph and wonder, “How can it be restful to follow Jesus if he is going to call me to change my approach to what I watch, what I buy, and how I spend my time?” The answer is that we experience real rest when we stop striving to find refreshment in all the wrong places. We yield to the purpose for which God created us.
This also sets us free to refuse to take on the “yokes” that the world tries to give us. We no longer need to be the people-pleaser who refuses to say no. We no longer need to be the conflict-avoider who refuses to speak the truth. We no longer need to be the “perfect mom,” the workaholic, or the pin-up model. Those are burdens that come not from Jesus, but from the world. When we come to Jesus, we experience the freedom from oppressive yokes, and the freedom to live out who God has called us to be.
On March 4th at 6:00 pm, there will be a Deeper event at LBF Church that will further explore what it looks like to find rest in God in a chaotic world. Be sure to come out for a great time of deep Scriptural teaching with a Q&A to follow.