It’s no coincidence I named my youngest son Isaiah. It was in the book of Isaiah that I started hearing the heart of God on the topic of rest. The truth of this Scripture lay upon my shoulders like a cashmere shawl on a crisp fall day. Its warmth is far-reaching and satisfying. Its truth came at a time when I had no excuses left. I was at my lowest point, exhausted and extinguishing. In Isaiah 30:12-15, God is talking to the people about the many promises He has told them to expect in their lives. Great promises they have yet to see. The delays have made them skeptical of His faithfulness.
His reply as I interpreted it: “You hate this word I’m telling you. You would rather trust in a system that has been driving you into the ground and rely on that system more than you would like to rely on My way of doing things. That’s why you’re in the situation you’re in now. You mistrust truth, and that mistrust is a high wall you are afraid to traverse. But traverse it you must, because staying put will lead to a collapse, a breaking that will come suddenly. It will be like a vessel ruthlessly smashed to the ground, leaving in its wake unrecognizable fragments. All that will be left are the shards of the promise. Listen now to the solution. In returning and resting, you shall be saved, in quietness and trust shall be your strength. But you are unwilling. You are unwilling to do the simple. You resist doing what should come naturally. You would rather do that which is hard. You would rather struggle than rest. You would rather work under a sense of obligation than learn how to surrender to peace. You would rather fight for every blessing rather than trust goodness is following you. You would rather see it before you believe it. You are afraid of rest.”
He was right; I was afraid of rest. It’s time to stop with the excuses and the reasons we have to maintain the status quo. It’s time to lay aside the notion of endless work being the end to the means. It’s time to stop trying to fulfill every promise by our blood, sweat, and tears. It’s time to go back to the beginning when rest was required, when rest was sacred.
** Excerpt from Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s new release Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity (FaithWords 2017). Available wherever Christian books are sold
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