When the Islanders from the Channel Islands saw the true colors of the enemy occupying their precious land, they began showing resistance. Initially they did so by painting a big “V” on the sides of buildings, on signs, on fences, etc. Why “V?” Because “V” is for Victory!
It all began with Colonel Britton’s BBC Broadcast of July 1941, where he used the Morse code of the letter “V” (Three dots and a dash), which was also expressed in the opening bar of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Ah! Good old Beethoven! (Ironically, Beethoven was born in Germany…)
The sight of the “V” lifted the morale of the Islanders. It made their hearts turn to the peace and rest they would have once the Nazis were gone. They couldn’t wait, for they were truly prisoners on their own island. It was a real release from all the frustrations of captivity.
Unfortunately, the Nazis found themselves quite aggravated by these “V”s. “How dare they! We are in power, and no one will ever take this away!” Frustrated, they began imposing heavier and heavier punishments for those caught painting the “V” sign. By the end of occupation, 2,500 islanders had been arrested just for painting “V”s, and 739 of them had appeared before the German Military Court. The jail was so full that culprits had to wait to serve their sentences. 172 of them were deported to prison camps in Germany.
This didn’t discourage the Islanders. Victory was not yet a reality, but the “V” was a sign of what was to come. Hope truly came alive in their hearts, for they considered that the mini-rest they received while painting that sign was well worth the threat of punishment.
The Hebrews also received a similar sign, where rest was assigned: The Sabbath day. It was supposed to be a day of rest from any burden. Unfortunately they turned it into a heavy burden, putting into effect numerous laws designed to protect the sanctity of the Sabbath. In fact, it was a bit like the heavier punishments from the Nazis for anyone painting the “V” sign!
The Sabbath sign pointed clearly enough to the One who would be coming, the One who could assure perfect rest. The apostle Paul confirmed this when he wrote: “Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.” (Gal 3:19, NIV2); and “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal 3:24, NIV2). In fact, the whole law pointed towards Jesus!
The book of Hebrews takes it a step further, indicating clearly that the Sabbath that was repeatedly broken in the past would now be celebrated not only one day out of seven, but all the time. “Today” has become a celebration for all Christians to experience continual rest.
“Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today.’ This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.” (Heb 4:6-8, NIV2)
Jesus came and showed us what rest truly means: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28, NIV2)
It’s a unique experience where we leave all of our burdens in the hands of Jesus. The “V” sign has been fulfilled. We now find our Sabbath even more fulfilled by trusting in Jesus Himself, if we leave all our worries in His care on a daily basis. Why worry when we have the Most High taking care of all of these (See also Matthew 6:25-33)? It’s all an act of faith. We either rest in Him continually or we decide to be the one in charge.
Next time we will discover how real this rest is for those who trust in Him. It goes well beyond anyone’s imagination.
What are you doing sir?
I am just painting a “V sign.” I believe in the victory procured by Jesus Himself. Thanks to Him I have no more worries. Jesus is my real rest now.
Has Jesus become your real rest?
(To access the entire “Restful Repose” devotional series, please click here.)