15 May 2014

Rest: God's Peace and Contentment For His Children

Founders Note: Today on the blog, we have one of our monthly contributors Kristy. She is sharing her heart on this months theme rest. We hope you are encouraged by her words as much as we were, you can find out more about her on our about page.

Rest is something I’m definitely in need of lately. You may have noticed my lack of appearance on TQP or my own blog as of late. Well, between planning a wedding, major changes in my church ministry, trying to relocate to be closer to my fiancĂ©, the school year coming to a close, and my ability to overbook myself constantly, rest is something I need. Does that mean I always get it? Of course not!

Biblically speaking, God shows us that we need rest! At the beginning of creation, God stopped and rested, not because He needed it, but to show us that we do. Looking over passages that related to rest or peace, I came across this one – Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. (NIV) When thinking on rest, it is hard for me not to think of contentment. When we are content and satisfied with our life it is easier for us to seek and achieve rest and peace. However, for me, content and satisfied usually means I’m busy fulfilling the needs and ministry God has placed in front of me. Another thing to note is I’m attempting to live in the will of our Lord, seeking His purpose out for my life and my time. When I’m buried deep in His work, it is easier to be content, to respect and fear Him, and therefore find some peace and rest.

Rest can be hard to come by when our heart is troubled and burdened, especially when those burdens come from our fledgling relationship with our Creator. If you are struggling with finding rest and peace, no matter your circumstances, check your relationship with Christ first. Often the world, our other relationships, jobs, or other obsessions get in the way and hinder our relationship with Christ. Daily we must make a conscious effort to keep this relationship thriving and growing.
Satan knows that our time is one of the easiest ways to steal our rest and peace. He will try everything he can to make you busy and tired so that you don’t have time to spend with Christ. To even hope for a peaceful and content life, we must first have a relationship with Christ, without that we can’t really find rest.
Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (NIV) The Lord is the ultimate giver of rest, without Him we definitely cannot achieve this level of peace and contentment. This rest is reserved for those who have received Christ’s salvation. Biblically, rest also refers to death or the life after death. Again this restful existence is reserved for Christ’s children and our eternity to spend in His presence, worshiping and experiencing His awesomeness!

Job 3:13 For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest
1 Kings 2:10 Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
2 Kings 20: 21 Hezekiah rested with his ancestors. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.

The world has their own ideas for rest, medications, relationships, the next big thing to obtain, but none can compare to the awesome peace that we receive just by being a child of God. Yes, this peace and rest require us to pursue a relationship with the Almighty, but it is such a small price to pay when you look at what we get in return, an eternity with our King and Savior, an eternity of rest.
Maybe you have faith, you are a believer, but rest still eludes you. This isn’t uncommon with Christians. Often we will experience trials and temptations, periods of growth and self-discovery. During these times you may feel much like David, forsaken and weary. All you have to do is open Psalms to see that not every Christian experiences peaceful rest 100% of the time. These are probably the most trying times of our lives. The years you spend in with a ministry seeing little growth or years of singleness leave numerous Christians anything but content. 

Your own experiences maybe something totally different, but these two examples are both part of my own story. Recently I spent almost 8 years serving in a small church the Lord led me to. I saw periods of great fruit followed by periods of nothing. Looking back, if feels like a roller coaster ride that I am only to glad to have left behind. However, I can’t imagine not experiencing it. These 8 years of service where groundbreaking in the maturing of my own faith, just like the ten years of singleness that coincided with this ministry. There were days when I felt abandoned by God, rest and peace the farthest thing from my mind, or at least they felt unobtainable. However, their were times of praise and worship that felt closer to God than I have in my entire existence. Trials are not something to be taken lightly or rushed through. They help us grow in ways we cannot image. If you find yourself in the middle of one such trial, seek the presence of God and the peace He has to offer. He will be there. Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.(NIV) He has already promised to be with us every step of the way, we just have to be willing to see Him and receptive of what He has to offer.

REST: God’s Peace & Contentment For His Children
To truly experience rest, we must be a follower of Christ, while non-Christians may experience rest and contentment it doesn’t compare to the joy and peace given to us by God. Our own rest and ability to achieve rest comes from our close relationship with God. However, often times trials and temptations are experienced during periods of growth, where rest and peace may temporarily elude us, despite the fact our relationship with Christ is strong. Rest will come, remain steadfast and trust in the awesome power of our God.

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"Pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24