A Book of Devotionals: One for Everyday, From the Perspective of Jesus – I really recommend this.
See, there’s a difference between being present with Jesus and just being still. Just like how there’s a difference between resting and sleeping! Some people think that resting is just sleeping, lying on the couch scrolling through Instagram, or watching movies on Netflix. If that’s all you do for rest, you will still feel tired and restless. I experienced a lot of this restlessness in high school. I would watch Netflix, movies, YouTube and then realize/remember something I had to do for school. I would then continue to keep watching Netflix, movies, Youtube – stressfully. It was mind-numbing and felt like a ‘break’ until I would finish whatever I was watching stressed and guilty – like I had wasted a lot of time on distractions. Nothing got done and I was left feeling empty or worse than before.
Unfortunately, a lot of people come to the end of their life and realize that they spent it doing mind-numbing activities rather than hope-renewing or soul-reviving things. Most hope-renewing, sould-reviving, and spirit-lifting things you can do for rest are spending time with Jesus.
While thinking about what to write for this devotional I asked God what He had to say about rest and He gave me the passage Isaiah 51. It’s too long to write here so please look it up and read it – it is so good! This chapter is all about a calling to trust the Lord which is perfect because, as I’ve come to realize, trust and rest go hand in hand – you can’t have one with the other!
In the beginning of the chapter, God say His “salvation is on the way.” Verses like: “Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear and they will be filled with joy and gladness.” And, “I, yes I, am the One who comforts you..” And also, “Soon all your captives will be released! Imprisonment, starvation and death will not be your fate!”
God wants us to know that He understands what we’re going through, our feelings and our needs, and He will help us through it. In this time more than ever, He wants us to trust Him and that He has as plan. Something God has shown me is that it hurts to know someone I love does not trust me or know that I want good things for them. It’s the exact same with God! I know it must hurt God’s heart to see His children restless when they could be at peace by trusting in Him.
Isaiah 51 also addresses something else that can bring our hearts to rest but it is something that is harder to understand at times. It is that everything we see now is temporary. This includes all the negative things we feel as well; it’s all just for the time-being. The things that we worry and stress about, the feeling of needing to fit in – it will all be gone one day. Well, either we will go first or the Earth will. It’s a simple thing but the experiences we have on Earth are all we know as humans. It can be hard to comprehend that there will be something much great than this life. Knowing that the pain we feel now cannot compare to the joy that is coming (God bringing restoration and hope where there was pain or sadness in your life). Something you can absolutely experience here on Earth (as in Heaven through meeting with Jesus and resting with Him.
If you’re sitting here, reading this devotional, and wondering: ‘Well, I’m not sure if I trust God and I don’t really know how…’ then please remember, that’s okay! Trust is developed over time, but it is also a choice. If you think about it from a ’people-perspective,’ think about how you came to truly trust someone in your own life. You probably have spent a lot of time with them! This is a great place to start as it allows you to spend more time with God and actually talk to Him about what’s on your mind. These are all really cool things! Try intentionally thinking about what you’re reading and even just repeating the phrase aloud, “I choose to trust you, Jesus.” Even when you don’t necessarily feel like you trust him, there is power in that. Just like anything, the more you commit to trusting Him, the closer you are to being at resort when hard things come your way (like a school-closing pandemic forcing you to stay in your home).
Hope this is encouraging to everyone! 🙂