Last time we discovered that the Sabbath had been given to the Israelites as an opportunity to experience what resting in the Lord truly means. It’s true, though, that for some reason, we humans have a hard time learning how to rest in the Lord. Thus, when human laws and regulations were added to it in order to keep its sanctity, the Sabbath day became a burden rather than a rest.
Now that Jesus has clearly shown us the way, we are encouraged to experience His rest–not only one day a week, but every day (See Heb 4:6-8)!
What does it mean to rest in Jesus’ arms?
“For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” (Heb 4:8-11, NIV2)
The rest that we receive by giving all of our burdens to Jesus goes beyond anyone’s imagination. It is a rest that needs to be daily renewed, by focusing solely on Jesus. Depending on our own resources will always result in our falling short of this genuine rest. Depending on Jesus will cause any worries to evaporate. We can be at work and still experience rest amidst our tribulations. We have nothing to fear.
Jesus’ appeal to, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28, NIV2) is really true, but we have to be willing to come to Him and leave all of our worries at His feet.
Truly, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matt 6:27, NIV2). Instead, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt 6:34, NIV2)
But what does such rest look like?
I will give you two personal experiences as examples of that rest. One today, the other one in our next devotional.
If you have read what happened to me last year at Christmas time (See Terror in the Night. Flying Like an Eagle, Intro), you will remember that I was in a tough situation. It is hard to shake off the effects of two anxiety attacks, and no matter what I did, I proceeded to go through life always experiencing varying amounts of anxiety.
Sadly, at first I looked for human advice. I went to my doctor, and she advised that I see a psychologist. My visit to the psychologist turned out to be quite different than I imagined. It turned out to be an opportunity to witness, even though I had not yet fully learned how to rest in Jesus’ arms.
The psychologist told me nothing was wrong with me and that she truly couldn’t help me. She encouraged me to continue with my own efforts, warning me as she did that anxiety would always be part of my life from now on.
I also discovered online something called “the tapping method,” which is supposed to relieve anxiety. Unfortunately it didn’t work as well as I had hoped, and I changed this by beginning to focus on Jesus through prayer instead. That’s when I began to experience exceptional situational relief.
Anxiety continued to linger in my life, however, and after two months, I turned to God and asked Him where it was coming from.
Why hadn’t I done this at the beginning?
God made me aware that the anxiety was rooted in the sleep medicine that had been prescribed to me 5 years earlier, Zoplicone. Some of you are more familiar with its other name Lunesta, which is actually the same medicine.
Supposedly Zoplicone wasn’t addictive, and I had experienced that it had become less and less effective over time. Thinking back, I realized that on Christmas day I had decided not to take the medicine. I had never connected the dots until then, but I realized that this was the trigger for my anxiety attacks.
Encouraged, I researched this topic online. I discovered that several doctors clearly documented the addictiveness of the medication. They warned that if you suddenly stopped taking Zoplicone, it could create havoc in numerous ways, one of which was the onset of anxiety attacks. I would need to gradually tamper off the medicine, and this is what I immediately began to do. Within 4 ½ months, I was free of its effects, and more importantly, free from anxiety as well. Oh, and I also sleep like a baby at night, now!
Never in my life would I have thought to look this up on the Internet. However that prompting from God’s Holy Spirit led me to deliverance. You may wonder why God did not heal me on the spot. Good question. Still, had I been healed right away, I would not have experienced how to depend solely on my God during that time. God became so real to me that now I try to run only into His arms. True, at times I do err, but my experience during that time makes me hunger for God more than ever.
Even at work, I rely solely on God. Strangely enough, I am now completely relaxed while at work. How could it be otherwise? Jesus promises me utter rest when I come to Him.
You too can experience that rest. You can stop worrying. Come to Jesus instead and learn from Him how to enjoy life fully.
Will you join me and experience Jesus fully?
(To access the entire, “Flying Like an Eagle” devotional series, please click here.)
(To access the entire “Restful Repose” devotional series, please click here.)