Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Walking Rest

One thing I've found lately is that I need to get off my butt, and then I'll find rest. Does that make sense?

I want to relax. I want to soak. All too often I want to write something online---an email, a blog, something epistle-length, etc. But in the back of my mind I know the dishes need doing. Or the laundry can be taken in from our little balcony. I know it'd make Yoko happy to come home and find some things done that she hadn't expected (we have irregular schedules... sometimes I get home early, sometimes she does).

I don't fully understand this or have one verse to illustrate it, but it is "rest", and I love it. It feels great and I want to do it more. It's like a path of rest. I can physically rest and try to pray or listen to worship music, but if I ignore a little thing that needs doing or that could be done to bless my wife... well, I'm finding that I'm more "rested" and happy if I do that thing instead.

Let's say this another way. "Rest" is an internal disposition. There's a physical rest that our body needs, but even if you get physical rest and don't have rest for your soul, you will not truly be "rested."

In her book, "My Jesus is...Everything", Anne Graham Lotz says:

Jesus saw the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of His friends and knew the solution was a time of quiet rest and reflection. And He knows the solution is the same for you and me today. So He invites us as He did His disciples, "Come with Me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest."

Often when I am under stress and pressure, I feel one of my greatest needs is to get a good night's sleep. But I've found that physical rest alone is not enough to revive my flagging spirit. I need the spiritual revival that comes from spending quiet time alone with Jesus in prayer and in thoughtful meditation on His Word.

Now having said that, it is not only physical rest that is conducive to receiving rest for your soul.

*******The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life*******

Sometimes Jesus is not calling you to a quiet place. Sometimes He's calling you to do the dishes. The trick to this is not to make a method out of it! Rather, hear His voice. Only the Spirit knows what will really give us rest, so we must seek Him, the Person. A letter of a law won't always give us rest. In fact, I venture to say that the more you trust in a letter of a law to give you rest, the more He may frustrate it in order to arrest your attention so that you seek Him Himself instead of a method or law.

We have a Savior who Himself is our Sabbath-rest, our "sabbatismos". We naturally look for a law of Sabbath, but He wants us to follow Him in active, living relationship. He wants us to hear Him speak to us, because only His words will "wash us" and give us rest.

When He speaks to me, He lets me know who I am in Him. He lets me know how much I love Him. He lets me know that He's pleased with me. He lets me know that "it is finished". And suddenly whatever I was worrying about evaporates because I know Him, I know everything is done in Him and I'm in His hands. Then I have rest! Then I have rest in the deepest place possible.

There are times that I want to "rest" like I did yesterday, last week or last year. I want to find Him in the place I found Him then. But He's calling me to meet Him today. And I might meet Him in a different place than last time. (Let's note that "meeting" isn't quite the right word because He's always with us, living inside us... rather, it's that I'm sometimes too busy to know Him as He's in me!) Sometimes today's "path" of/to rest is not one that will involve physical rest. When walking, when doing dishes, etc., I may better hear Him talking to me.

Especially in doing things here for Yoko.

*******The path of agape love*******

He's calling me to love her more than I love myself, more than I love what I'm doing right now (even more than what I think I'm doing for Him). As I lay down what I want to do and what I think I have to do, and as I serve her, I find Him and I find that I'm happier. In pouring out myself, I find a joy that I couldn't have when holding onto what I want to do.

Lord, help me with this more!

I think this may be what Jesus was talking about when He went around "working" on the Old Covenant Sabbath day:

Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:17-19)

Jesus found rest in His Father's presence. This meant often "working", but yet He found the greatest "rest" in the universe while doing this. And He found this rest in the agape love of the Father. The Father poured Himself out, and so the Son found rest in pouring out Himself, too. Jesus said this was even His "food" (Jn.4:34).

*******Return to your rest, O my soul*******

Finally, there is a day-to-day rest, and there is a peace & rest that we have which goes beyond feeling. It's deep and constant, as Hebrews 4 says, we "have rested". Often when my soul gets confused, He draws me back to that knowledge... that it is done, that He has finished it, that it is done for me! Rest in Him, be at peace in Him.

Nearly without fail, the times I feel un-rest are when I forget this. As I remember Him and trust in the constancy of who He is---and not what I feel---I am brought back to rest. Yet whether I feel it or not, I have rested in Him! He's awesome that way. I can't pretend to understand all the paradoxes of this, but it's wonderful to experience His love.

Perhaps that is the best summary of this article: that He is real, He is a Person, and He leads us into rest in His arms. It's not always this way or that, just as the woman in John 4 couldn't pin down where the correct place or time was to worship God. It's Spirit. In Him we have already rested, once and for all.

Lord, I barely know where I'm going with this! But You've been leading me into rest in ways, places, and doing things around the home that I would not have recognized as "rest." But these too are Your Sabbath-rest. These too are gifts to me that have come from Your death on the cross for me. Before, Your people had to go here or there at this or that time to experience You. But now You are with us, living in us, and You can give us rest anytime! You've broken down the barrier of the old law of rest, and You have become our Sabbath "today". I don't know what I'm trying to say here clearly, but You give me rest, and I want anyone reading this to know You, to know that You give them rest, and I want them to find rest in You, with You. Thank You for all this, Jesus. In Your name, amen.


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