“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:9-11)
At one period of my life, I would awake early to ride the bus across town to work at a book binder, picking up and delivering tons of paper, then spend time in God’s word and afterwards spend the evening with my small children. In between, once a week, I would go to the Grotto to spend time with the Lord, walking through the gardens, praying.
At the edge of a cliff is a beautiful chapel, overlooking NE Portland. I might stand there and pray over the city, or seek God’s wisdom. But occasionally, I would sit in the comfortable chairs and rest, allowing God to speak to me, should He want to.
In the midst of this busy life, I would often fall asleep in the middle of my prayers, coaxed by the softness of the cushions. At times I would startle myself awake and apologize to the Lord for sleeping during our time together. At one point, waking myself, the Lord said quietly to me, “Go ahead and sleep. This is my gift to you: rest in me.”
Prayer is hard work, and those who strive in this obedience know the difficult effort of it. But God also gives us a Sabbath, a rest in the midst of our labors. This rest is God’s mercy upon us, and who are we to deny God’s mercy? In the midst of our prayerful work, we might very well find ourselves coaxed into resting in God’s hand, a child at his mother’s breast.
We ought not only seek to change the world through prayer, but we should accept God’s peace in prayer. Prayer is not just work, it is rest. It is not just action, but it is dependence. Let us not fail to enter into that rest.
Father, let me accept your gift of quiet and peace. Come and fill my soul like a child at rest on his mother’s knee. Come and fill my soul completely. Amen.