Have you ever had a day when you wake up on the verge of tears? You go to work and immediately seem to have no control over your emotions, but when someone asks you what is wrong, you can’t tell them anything. “I just woke up feeling this way,” you say. How about the guys reading this? Have you ever woke up ticked at the world? You just feel like hurling insults or fists at everyone, but when someone asks you what’s wrong, you can’t give them an origin for the way you are feeling.
I think we have all had those moments, possibly more often than we care to share, and I believe the culprit often times is simply lack of rest in God’s presence. We live in a world where the average adult makes 35,000 decisions every day. We experience tremendous pressure from our culture, and we push ourselves to the extreme in every part of lives to achieve the “American Dream,” yet we never take time to process all the stimuli in our lives. We pick up burden after burden, worry after worry, fear after fear, but are confused when we are unable to control our emotions or why we just kicked the dog for no good reason.
We get to that point by failing to prioritize rest and quiet time with God. He knew our limitations well, and set the example for us in Genesis 2 when He rested on the seventh day. Not because He needed it, He is God after all, but because He knew we would need it. Have you ever considered the sequence of events for humans in Genesis 2? God creates mankind on day six and tells them the huge plans He has for them, but then decides mankind’s first full day on Earth should be to rest. Our mantra is, “but first…coffee.” God’s mantra is, “but first…rest.” I like His version better.
God, once again knowing our limitations, sets “rest” as one of the Ten Commandments. As if that were not enough, when God came to Earth in human form, Jesus, He rested. Even though Jesus was fully God, He was also fully human, which meant He felt stressed and He became tired. We can see time and again in Scripture when Jesus wakes early, before the disciples, to find a quiet place to pray and process all He was feeling, or when He sends the disciples on an errand so He can have some peace and quiet. We also know of a couple times when He fell asleep in the back of the boat. Jesus prioritized rest and quiet time with God, but us…?
I think there are two major takeaways from this truth. First, Hebrews 4:15, says “for we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.” I find it comforting that as Jesus is interceding for us to God the Father, He can explain what it feels like to be stressed and tired and to want to kick the dog. Jesus knows how we feel. Just as important, though, He set the example for us by understanding human limits, prioritizing rest and rejuvenation through quiet time with God. We are told in scripture to pray (Philippians 4:6-7) and meditate (Joshua 1:8) on God’s Word during our times of rest, so that is my prayer for us all this week…that we will follow Jesus’ example and carve out time to stop moving, pray to God, listen to God, and consistently think about the truth of God’s Word, so our minds and bodies will be more prepared to live out God’s Word in our everyday lives.