The Importance of Rest
I’m sure by this point, all of you have heard at some point or another how important it is to get rest. The importance to going to bed on time, so you can get up on time. The importance of vacations, importance of not packing your schedules so tight that you don’t have time to breathe, the importance of rest. But I would also like to explore the concept of resting in the Lord. Now, I must say, I’ve never really heard a sermon on this, but I do believe it’s important, and it’s really been getting stressed to me by the Holy Spirit, so even though, I had a completely different topic this week… Someone needs to hear this. Which was only reinforced by the story that I was going to use, being used in the sermon this morning…. Oh Holy Spirit, how you move.
So-many months ago, I was reading someone else’s blog, and they were elaborating on the story of Elijah. Not necessarily the one you think of, but another moment, that almost seems like a side-note, but let me tell you. One of the most important lessons that God has taught me, the importance of eating some food and taking a nap. Yep, go ahead. Read that again. Eat some food, and take a nap. So, let’s read the story, then, I’ll elaborate.
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an Angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The Angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. – 1 Kings 19:1-8
Little context here, so we can understand a little more of this story. In the chapter preceeding, there was a severe famine and drought in Samaria, and Elijah had challenged the phophets of Baal by both offering sacrifices and whomever’s God was real, would set fire to the sacrifices. The prophets of Baal cried out for him to set fire to their sacrifice all night and all day to no avail. Then, Elijah had water dumped on his sacrifice, cried out to God once, and the sacrifice, the alter, and soil beneath were all scorched in flames. Then, all the prophets (all 450!) were slain for their service to Baal. And almost immediately after this, it began to rain….
So, Elijah, had quite literally witnessed this incredible act of God, and favor for his people. And while Elijah is running for his life for killing the servants of Baal, he asks God to kill him. Talk about a rollercoaster of emotion. He goes from witnessing this incredible miracle, and very obvious re-assurement that he was serving the one true God, to just wanting to die. And, that happens to us, doesn’t it? We see God working in our lives, doing incredible things, and then the next moment we’re just ready to throw in the towel. But, look! Look what God does. He lets Elijah rest. And then sends an Angel to give him some food?! Then, lets him sleep again, feeds him again, and then sends him on his way.
God knows we need rest. That’s why there are so many verses in the Bible that talk about finding rest in God. Verses about Him holding you up when you’re weary. He created us to need rest. It’s not a flaw in the design. We were beautifully and wonderfully made that way. We need rest. Accept it. Rest when you are weary. Take the time to re-energize yourself.
I have several stories of how rest and a nap really changed the outcome for the unfolding events that were occurring at the time. Same thing goes for Elijah. Can you imagine if he had continued to push on? He might’ve dropped dead from exhaustion and never met Elisha. His story might’ve been lost forever because he died so suddenly shortly after a miracle. Who knows? What we do know, is that he took the time to rest. And God provided him with food, and let him sleep. Because we are his creations, and he knows our needs. Trust in the Lord, and trust your body, when it tells you it’s time for rest.
I would like to take that one step further. Take time to rest in the Lord too. I personally just went through a huge growth spurt – not in my natural body, but with my Spirit. I have spent the last several years, growing. Growing, growing, growing. Like, I’m pretty sure I have stretch marks. I was hungry. I couldn’t get enough. Podcasts, daily devotionals (multiple), prayer, this blog, Bible Study, Church three times a week. Insatiable hunger. And, now I have entered this period of rest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still praying, going to church, reading daily devotionals, but I’m not hungry in this moment. I’m just digesting. Taking some more snippits, adding it to what I just digested. But, I’m just resting in the Lord right now. Letting it all soak in. If you think about it, what good does it do you to eat more food when you’re already full? Nothing, you don’t get more nutrients, you don’t feel any more full (except over-full). You have to take time to rest. Let some of the stuff sink in. Understand how it applies to your life. What this means in your walk with the Lord. Sometimes all you need is some food, and a nap. ❤
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You! Thank You for making us just the way we are. Thank You for designing us to need rest. For making us take the time to rest in You, and to rest our bodies. For making us slow down. To wonder in Your Glory and Honor, to pull in close to you, that you may hold us close, when we need rest. That you are our strength when we have none. That you will all provide our needs, even when we don’t understand them ourselves. Thank you, that You are, the omniscient Great Jehovah! That you are always looking out for us, even when we just need some time to relax. Thank You for ensuring that these 8 verses were here to help us understand that you are the all knowing Father, who completely understands that we need rest. Thank You Father. Thank You! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
This week’s focus… Sleep in Heavenly Peace!! 🙂 This is a missions that’s dedicated to making sure no child in America sleeps on the floor. Here is their “mission statement” – I can’t explain it any better.
“All children deserve a safe, comfortable place to lay their heads. In Idaho and across the U.S., too many boys and girls go without a bed – or even a pillow – to sleep on. These children end up sleeping on couches, blankets, and even floors. This can affect their happiness and their health.
That’s where Sleep in Heavenly Peace comes in. We’re a group of volunteers dedicated to building, assembling and delivering top-notch bunk beds to children and families in need. Our organization has grown steadily over time, and we’re working on opening more chapters in different states to serve more people.”