Rest, Work For It

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee” -Augustine of Hippo

"Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee" -Augustine of Hippo

April has to be one of the busiest months for anyone in ministry. With Easter, end of the semester, and summer prep, it doesn't seem to stop.

I know I am not alone when it comes to feeling beaten down, tired, worn out, burned out and more. 

When the isolation seems more real than ever and depression creeps in and out, I can't be the only one who just wants rest; the "Please just 5 more minutes of sleep", "Leaders please just be on time", "Relationships that are happy and healthy" kind of rest.

But the reality is that you might not get a break in the action. And more and more you may feel like Job in Job 3:28:

" I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes."

So what do we do?

Are we destined to burn through the struggles of life not feeling any peace? Do we just have to grit our teeth to get through this season (knowing it's going to spill into next season)?
Praise God, the answer is no. Like always, Jesus provides an answer. 

In Matthew's gospel, he says:

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Mt. 11:28) 

What do we do when we feel beaten down, exhausted and torn apart, when the weight of assignments keep piling up and life is flying by? Jesus says you go to Him.

That's it? Just go to Jesus? 

It can't be that simple. What are the systematic steps to achieving rest?

None. Just go to Him. 

The word Jesus spoke in that verse is the word anapao, (thanks, Blueletterbible.com) which directly translates to: 

"To cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength.
To keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation."

The rest Jesus is talking about is the rest we want. It's recovery. It's renewed strength. It's a calm, patient expectation that Jesus is coming and that the hurt of this world WILL come to an end. That He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. 

Rest isn't less busy. Rest is worshiping in the busyness. 

When we rest, we get Him, and when we get Him, there is nothing else we need.

So for every youth minister who has another retreat planned, a sermon to finish and 8 baseball games to attend in the next 3 days, go to Him. 

This isn't just for people in ministry; this is truth for everyone.

For every mom who is trying to balance all that the world throws at her, go to Him. 

For every college student that has 3 projects, 2 tests, a paper, is struggling finacially, and still doesn't know what they are doing with their lives, go to Him. 

For every high school student who is dealing with school, relationships and the big decisions of growing up, go to Him.

In the hurt, go to Him. In the isolation, go to Him. In the _______, go to Him. 

The world doesn't slow down, but because of Jesus, we can still have rest.

Charles Spurgeon puts it this way,

"We have a thousand times considered these words as an encouragement to the laboring and the laden; and we may, therefore, have failed to read them as a promise to ourselves. But, beloved friends, we have come to Jesus, and therefore He stands engaged to fulfill this priceless pledge to us. We may now enjoy the promise; for we have obeyed the precept. The faithful and true Witness, whose word is truth, promised us rest if we would come to Him; and, therefore, since we have come to Him, and are always coming to Him, we may boldly say, "O Thou, who art our Peace, make good Thy word to us wherein Thou hast said, 'I will give you rest." 

Jesus is the only one who can give rest in the hardest times, because He is the only one who IS rest. 

Steal away time with the Lord. Forcibly quit the craziness. Carve out some stillness to sit with Jesus and His Word. In He who is rest, we find Rest.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: KYLE PETTIT

"You can't get a book long enough or cup of coffee big enough to suit me."

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Kyle moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma for college. He is now the Young Adults pastor at Faithbridge Church in Spring, Texas. His three loves are teaching the Bible, training leaders, and writing stories. He's just a goofy millennial hoping to inspire people into all that they are created to be.