For almost thirty years, this country hill in Maine has been home to our family. One by one, we’ve added to the numbers until, soon, we’ll be 14 Morins in all, but it all started with two of us. The longer we live here, the more obvious it becomes that “home” is really more about the people than the place.
In his dealings with Israel, God bends over backward to urge them (and now us!) to make our home in him, to find our rest in him. Hebrews 4:1 opens with the invitation and a warning:
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.Hebrews 4:1
The writer of Hebrews speaks of “entering” God’s rest as a destination, but it’s clear that Peaceful Rest is found in a Person.
Therefore… Choose Rest Over Discontentment
For present-day believers, rest is a discipline, but it is also a gift from God. Rest isn’t one more thing to clutter up your to-do list! It’s not just another kind of work that needs a check mark, but rather a trust-based admission that the first work and the most important work has already been done.
Israel’s example is a warning to us:
They had forfeited rest in the Land of Promise. They longed for a different place, even a return to Egypt! Trusting an unseen God did not feel safe.
What self-salvation strategies do you implement rather than resting in God’s provision for your soul? God’s invitation to rest in him, to make him your home shouts, “Stop spinning plates! End your ceaseless striving! Believe that God is enough!”
Therefore… Choose Rest Over Worry
God did not promise Israel a trouble-free existence in the Promised Land. They would have to conquer it yard by yard, and he has not promised present-day believers a life without hassles. He has, however, promised to give us peace in the midst of the hassles.
Our response to trouble is all about the location of our souls. Have you located your soul in relation to God?
As John Koesslser has said in The Radical Pursuit of Rest, “Like Israel we experience divine rest starting with relocation… [But] instead of relocating to a different point on the map we are brought into union with Christ.”
If you have made your home in Christ, if you are trusting in him and his sovereign goodness, you will find rest in your journey. Detours and obstacles may abound, but rest can be your traveling companion–and your destination.
The promise still stands. You are invited to enter his rest, the only true destination that offers peace no matter what.
What self-salvation strategies do you implement rather than resting in God’s provision for your soul? God’s invitation to #rest in him, to make him your home shouts, “End your ceaseless striving! Believe that God is enough!”Tweet
And Now Let’s Talk Books…
Rest is a counter-cultural concept in our world of hurry and hustle, but it’s a habit that counteracts anxiety. In Just Rest, Melanie Redd shares that 95% of college counselors express concern over the level of anxiety and depression on campus. In response, she guides her readers through ninety days of strong habits supported by a daily verse, a prayer, a positive declaration, and a call to action.
Redd’s favorite name for God is Adonai Tov–“The Lord is Good.” God’s goodness stands as an invitation to rest, for no matter what presents itself, whatever appears on the horizon, remembering God’s goodness changes my response.
Melanie writes with the courage, confidence, and conviction of a woman who has gone to the source of rest and come away with good news. And here it is: The storms we fear, the path we seek, the veiled ending to our story are already stilled, found and known by the God who promises to be our rest and our peace. You will be changed as you read, journal, and pray your way toward this deeply transformative truth.
In #JustRest, @MelanieRedd writes with the courage, confidence, and conviction of a woman who has gone to the source of rest and come away with Good News.Tweet
Embrace Your Life
Elizabeth Woodson is a black woman, single, and living on the older side of young. I am a white woman, married, and living on the younger side of old. Differences aside, we met over the words of Embrace Your Life, because we share in common a need to reconcile the life we envisioned with the life we actually have.
If longing is your companion, Woodson offers a scriptural guide for living in that liminal space wholeheartedly. Good theology supports an understanding of the roots of longing, and lessons from the life of Joshua provide a model for the believer who is intent upon accepting God’s invitation to self-examination, lament, hope, remembering, faith, and joy.
Woodson sounds the alarm to awaken those who have been busy masking their longings with unhealthy and unhelpful behaviors. Best of all, we are not defined by our longings. As important as they are to us and to God, he invites us to make his glory and his Word our ultimate desire. Nothing else can bear the weight of our all our hopes.
“Keeping it real” with God includes telling him our real feelings, asking him for our heart’s desire, and trusting him with the outcome. The end goal is contentment, not as a result of swapping lives with someone who’s living our dream, but by choosing to embrace the given, not allowing the not-given to blind us to the goodness of God or the beauty of the life he has assigned to us.
Holding You in the Light,
If longing is your companion, Elizabeth Woodson offers a scriptural guide for living in that liminal space wholeheartedly. @missjazzyliz @bhpub #EmbraceYourLifeTweet
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Many thanks to BH Publishers, Net Galley, and End Game Press for providing copies of these books to facilitate my reviews, which are, of course, offered freely and with honesty.
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