Rest

Woman, Asleep, Girl, Sleep, Dreams, Face

Pixabay

Rest can be an illusive thing.  I am not speaking necessarily of a time of relaxation or  breath catching after some act of exertion, though it might include these.  I am speaking more of the regeneration brought about by the putting aside of labours altogether.  A time to let the mind as well as the body to rest.

I have for the last few nights found such rest more difficult than is my norm.  I have faced some stresses related to the practical demands of settling Dianne’s estate, and of the needs I have in settling into my “new normality.”   Sleep has been less deep, and of shorter duration than I am accustomed.  But as in so many areas of my life, Dianne offered me advice from her own experience.   I came across a citation in her journals where she spoke of her cancer-induced insomnia.  She reflected that no matter how extreme her physical tiredness she could still find mental rest in God.   “Return to your rest, oh my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you (Psalm 116:7).”  God provides.  He deals bountifully.  There is no need to let the concerns of finance, ill-health, or a multitude of daily issues rob us of peace and rest.

Dianne on acknowledging this, actually found the insomnia less powerful.  Yes, the cancer still changed her physically enough to make for “boom and bust” sleep patterns.  But even if physically fatigued, she was able to be “at rest.”

I pray that I too will find rest: sleep if I am lucky, but restful peace bountifully.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).”  

Padre

Weary But Renewed Each Day

Sunset, Dawn, Nature, Mountains, Landscape, Kaçkars

Dawn – Image by RÜŞTÜ BOZKUŞ from Pixabay 

 

Daily life can be hard.  Aging can make it harder, as can illness.  We scramble to make ends meet, and all to often we try to carry on on our own.  But this is a foolish approach.  My wife Dianne discovered that early in the final stages of her cancer.  She was not Super Girl or Wonder Woman, at least not in strength and endurance.  It was at that moment of revelation and realisation* that she turned to the scripture, 2 Corinthians 4: 16 “So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day.”

It was plain to her, and should be to us, that even when we are physically strained, our spirits are lifted by He who made us.  He provides us with a renewal each and every day, this is through not only a good night of contented sleep, but through enlivening our souls with His promises, and with fellowship with our brothers and sisters.  Through prayer, time with the Word, and in our contact with those who love us in unity we are renewed.

How obvious is that, when we reflect on Jesus’ own words!

Matthew 11:28-30 tells us,  “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.”

Are we laying our burdens before God?  Or are we so ego driven that we forget the simple promise?  No man is an island it is said, but there is a Rock on which we can take refuge.

To do it alone I can but strive

But I grow more weary if in this way I strive

There is a promise to which I must hold

He will comfort give me, and lighten my load

 

We trust in our own strength

Just a bit too much

Our pride will betray us

If we cling to such

 

So let us lay our burdens down

And be renewed as we walk our way

His promises fulfilled

Day by day

 

Padre

*Dianne’s journal 9 June 2019

Sabbath Rest/Sabbath Peace: A True Story

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One Friday, the Germans took the Rabbi of Dambrowe, Hayyim Rubin and twenty other Jewish men to the local cemetery.  There, they were then ordered to dig their own graves.  The Nazis did not seem to be in a hurry, and as evening began to fall, the Jews still standing in the graves, were able to welcome the “Sabbath Queen” (celebrate Shabbat).  The rabbi, gave a greeting to the other Jews, with the traditional ‘Good Sabbath.’  This was done as if it were any other Sabbath evening.  He then recited the prayers, and taught a lesson from the Bible.  As he taught, he was overcome with religious passion, and started to sing.  The other men followed the example of Rabbi Rubin, and began to sing and dance.  They were celebrating the Sabbath, as if the Germans, with their machine-guns ready, were not there.

This is the power of a day of rest.  A rest not only from our weekly toil, but from the stresses of life, and even the fears of death.  Sabbath was established for our good.  It is a time to recharge, and reflect on the things that really matter.  It is not the consumerism, or “keeping up with the Jones” that matter, but our relationship with our Creator.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God (Exodus 20).”  God rested, as an example to us.  God, the Omnipotent One has no need for rest.  He knew in His wisdom, that we need the time to recover from the concerns of the world.  Jesus made this clear in Mark chapter 2, “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ (vs 27).”

Can we find the rest and freedom offered to us by God?  Are we filling the day of rest with labour?  Shall we too welcome the Sabbath Queen?

Padre

 

He Will Not Rest (So We Can)

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source: Stocksy United

One thing that I developed in the forces was hyper-vigilance. This is defined as, ” . . . a state of increased alertness, an extreme sensitivity to surroundings.” It can make you feel alert to any hidden dangers, whether from other people or the environment (real or imagined).

But truth be told, while being “always on the alert” has some practical benefits in a military situation, it is not good for you all the time. If left unchecked it can lead to anxiety and worries of dangers that aren’t even present.

We can never be alert 100% of the time. We need sleep, relaxation, and wind-down time. Fortunately, we do not have to be constantly on guard (which is a fool’s errand anyway). The Psalmist assures us that we have an ever-vigilant God, who has us under His protection, and watchful eye.

Psalm 121 reads,

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lordwho made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

When we get stressed, anxious, or just over stimulated; let’s remember that we can afford to take a breath and wind down. God has it all in hand.

Padre

Shabbat Shalom

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As it is Shabbat it seemed a good time to reflect on Brother John Onelum’s message on the topic of Sabbath rest from last week.  John noted the need for rest, and how God in His wisdom and plan worked this into our week.  God even gave us the example, when He rested on the seventh day after the creation.

God set aside the Sabbath that we may recharge, but it was also that we might trust in Him. It would not be by our labours, but through His gifts that we might have life and blessing.  In John’s words, ” God equaled the maths.”  We might not make ends in six days, but probably not in seven either.  We trust in Him to provide, to make up for the shortfall.

The people of Jerusalem had failed to heed that lesson. In Nehemiah 13, the people had taken to  “treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day (verse 15).”  They were trying to make up the deficit themselves.  What they did was separate themselves from the fount of all, blessings. Nehemiah notes that he was forced to testify against them.

Do we trust in God?  Are we putting our hopes in our own efforts?  Or are we willing to trust in the Lord of the Sabbath to give us our Sabbath’s rest?

Shabbat Shalom.

Padre