March 20, 2023
Moving from Restlessness to Rest
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Like clockwork, it happened every night.
For weeks, under a pitch-black canopy and hum of the fan, a guest would appear. One night I even felt fingers crawling up my arm. I jolted up out of my sleep to see my daughter, nose to nose with me, looking for a place to lay her head.
Most nights she came alone, sometimes she brought her brother with her. But every night, whoever showed up in my bedroom wanted the same thing—the coveted spot in the bed between Mom and Dad.
Now, I know many parenting books would scorn me and tell me to take the child back to bed. I’m not winning any Mom-of-the-year awards here. Nor am I encouraging you to mimic my actions. I couldn’t help but notice … when we pulled our daughter up and placed her between us, the cries that accompanied her into the room quieted.
I think she might have been on to something.
Our days are filled—like the hovering-at-the-rim-of-the-glass kind of filled. We grind out every day then meet the mattress late into the night, squeeze our eyes shut and hope we somehow wake refreshed and ready for another day.
But, oftentimes, though our bodies are postured horizontally for a short while, our souls remain restless within us.
If you’re like me you may have thought to yourself a time or two, I need to get away. An airline even uses this train of thought to encourage you to fly with them. You may have heard their slogan—Wanna Get Away.
Whether it’s in the bathroom behind a closed door, in the bedroom under the covers, or on a weekend retreat, it seems we innately understand that to rest and refresh, sometimes we need to get away.
Jesus, however, included an important qualifier for our retreat. He invites us to come away with Him.
To simply retreat isn’t enough to give us the refreshment we need. Jesus says we find true rest in Him—relief, refreshment and blessed quiet for our souls (Matthew 11:28, AMPC). In Christ we receive relief and refreshment from the realities of today.
After the invitation to come with Him, Jesus added another layer to the rest we desire. He told His disciples, come by yourselves. With these two words, Jesus issued an invitation for us to create separation between our souls and the demands of the world.
Sometimes we keep our concerns on our minds because to release them, we fear, would be disastrous. We feel like laying down our burdens would be allowing them to run rampant and out of control.
Jesus’ call to come by ourselves, isn’t a request for us to ignore or dismiss our burdens. Instead, it’s an invitation to cast our cares on Him and let Him care for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Finally, Jesus described the place to which they were to go to as a quiet place.
Jesus extended this invitation, because He had experienced it. As the demands of His earthly ministry increased, Jesus Himself often withdrew to the wilderness to pray (Luke 5:15-16).
No matter what concern stirred my daughter’s soul in the dark, she found rest nestled between Mom and Dad. We too can find rest when we come by ourselves with Jesus to a quiet place.
How can you practice resting as Jesus described it?
Dear God, apart from You I have no rest. I admit my best efforts fall short of true refreshment. I long for the rest found in You alone. Show me when I can slip away with You to a quiet place. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What keeps you from coming to Jesus by yourself to a quiet place? Which one of the parts of rest do you need to include more often in your life? Whether it’s retreating with Jesus, coming by yourself, or finding a quiet place, ask God to help you include that part of rest in your life today.
Write down one thing you will do or change in order to move from restlessness to rest in Jesus.
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