Prayer Corner (July Ed.)
Prayer Corner

For this month’s edition of Prayer Corner, Jack will be sharing with us on the topic of rest, specifically physical and spiritual aspects to rest.

July ’23: Finding the Promised Rest
By Jack Y.

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

I once asked a group of young parents to share of what they found to be restful?  What helps and what prevents them from getting rest? 

One person responded that not knowing “exactly what it means to rest” keeps her from resting.  Furthermore, she says, “And even if you know logically and in the mind what it means… it’s hard to know what it exactly looks like or feels like or is exactly like to be in it.”  Some thought that resting is a waste of time and they need to remind themselves that it is not.

Do these resonate with you?  What is rest to you?  Have you found rest?  Apparently Jesus knew that a lot of the people He was ministering to have not found rest.  This is why He asked, “Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest… (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)

What is rest?  The Bible talks about both the physical and spiritual aspects to rest.  Jesus called his disciples to come apart and rest for a while in body and spirit (Mark 6:31).  The physical side is the actual taking time to be away so that we can be refreshed.  The spiritual aspect of rest is the finding of peace, contentment, and security in God.

What I am discovering is that the experience of either the physical or spiritual aspects of rest is not easy. Many of our lives are so busy that it is hard to take time to rest.  Others can’t rest because it is believed to be a waste of time.  Even for those who can take time to rest physically may not truly have entered the rest that God is calling us to.  We may not have found peace, contentment, and security in God.

It is becoming more clear to me why we are asked to “make every effort to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4: 11).  What is behind the difficulty in finding rest?  In Hebrews 4 the author points to two things that caused the Israelites not to enter the promised rest – their lack of belief and their disobedience (see Hebrews 4:3, 6, 11).  In my work with individuals, I have found that one of the biggest blocks to trusting God is our selves.  The deep beliefs we have carried in our hearts that came from our early experiences in life can impact how we see the world and God.  A gentleman who has experienced horrible abuses as a child was asking where was God in his pain.  He believes that he had only himself to trust to get him through his pain.  Another person’s parents were too busy for her.  Some had a harsh parent or another parent who is struggling emotionally.  Most of these individuals developed beliefs that made it difficult to trust deeply.  They often end up making efforts keeping busy to find the security themselves. Contentment comes with what they possess materially or titles they have earned.  There may not be any peace within due to conflicted desires in their hearts.  People may keep busy to distract themselves from feeling their pain.  There is no entering the rest in God.    

This is why we are called to make every effort to enter the rest.  Because trusting and obeying becomes difficult for those who did not have very trustworthy foundations to begin with.  I have also discovered that our God has already foreseen this problem with trust.  I believe this is why He has sent His only beloved Son who asks us to come to Him, and get away with Him.  To walk and work with Him to see how He does it.  (see Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

For those who are tired, worn out, and burned out from religion, know that you are not alone.  God does know.  Take courage in making effort to trust again by reaching out to Him and to those in the church body.  For those of you who already are finding rest in God without much effort then praise Him for that.  Learn to see and pray for those around who has to make effort to trust.