Exodus 33:14: “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”
REST. God will give us rest? I have never been good at resting. I am good at moving, playing, working, even fidgeting. I am just not good at resting. One of my best friends can sleep anywhere — on a plane, in a car, during a sermon at church, lying on the beach — wherever she is, she can rest. How I have coveted her gift!
What God has revealed to me once again is that I am one who strives. I perform. I want to earn things and feel like I am constantly improving in some way. I love challenges, especially if it involves exercise.
One day, after finishing an exercise class, I laid perfectly still on the ground for some much needed rest. As I laid there, I saw a picture (in my mind) of a beautiful waterfall with a flowing stream at the bottom of it. It was glorious! Immediately, I had the sense that God’s presence was at the top of that waterfall.
So, I began to climb tenaciously. It was a steep climb with many trees on the path. I saw my striving, my work, then my fatigue. I wanted to get to God so I kept pushing and pushing and pushing. Anybody been there?
In my exhaustion, the Lord met me with the most wonderful news: “Brooke, my presence is at the top of this waterfall, but my presence is also down in the flowing stream.” Without delay, I headed down to the stream to experience the presence of God. There, I floated on paddle boards, played in the water and enjoyed rest. Just as I heard, the presence of God was in the flowing stream.
In our day and age, I think most people are longing for rest. It seems elusive and something to look forward once we are on vacation. Then, we need a vacation from our vacation! We talk about Sabbath in the church but rarely do we experience the true rest God offers on that day. God created us for rest. Look back to the passage in Exodus: “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”
He wants to give us rest today. What I have realized is that I have to choose to accept that rest; in my vision, I had to choose to stop climbing up the mountain in order to take the path down the mountain. There will always be more to do. There will always will be another mountain to climb. There will also be God waiting in the still, quiet moments. It is here that He longs to meet us and give us rest.
Casting Crowns says this much better than I ever could in their song “Just Be Held”:
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
God sees you in your striving and your exhaustion. He knows your needs, reaches out His hand and asks you to sit with Him and rest. Friends, let’s choose just to be held!