As a college student I never fully understood the need to find rest. And by rest, I don’t necessarily mean more sleep. I mean deep rest and restoration for my soul. While we do need to take care of our bodies physically, I find that is all too easy to do in college. But when the college dorm became a mere blast from the past for me, I realized I don’t need to schedule more naps. I need to come and be before the Lord.
Society tells us to push through, drink more coffee, keep your head up, and you’ll be OK. But all the coffee and motivational quotes will not bring satisfaction for my weary soul. It will only make me numb and ignorant to the deep longing for fullness that only Jesus can fill. We as believers must not join in with society singing praises when Friday is finally upon us. TGIF is not our anthem. Rather, we proclaim Christ crucified. Because of Jesus we can now find eternal rest for our weary souls.
This Frantic Age
In a culture that works from exhaustion and until exhaustion, it can be far too easy to fall in line. Under all the working is the lie that we don’t need to rest. In some way, when we choose not to rest, we are believing that we are God. But if we looked deeper into our Creator, we would see that he chose to rest, though he doesn’t need rest. Psalm 121 writes, “He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3-4). Yet, in Genesis 2, we see God rested and deem rest as holy, “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation” (Genesis 2:2-3).
Here in Genesis 2, God modeled rest for us. The Creator of the universe didn’t need to rest, but he chose to. We are not God, and yet we continually choose not to rest. Instead of joining in with the beat of society, there must be a change in pace. And that change begins with Jesus.
Are You Overburdened?
I’m sure we are all familiar with Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” But I want to zoom in on verse 27, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” In knowing Jesus, we can know the Father. And in knowing Jesus, we can know rest because the Father rested and so did Jesus. All throughout his ministry on earth, Jesus continually took time to retreat, to depart from his disciples, from the hustle and bustle of teaching, healing, and saving his people. Jesus is calling us to himself in Matthew 11:28 because he knows rest, and he will teach us to rest as he rests and as his Father rested.
Jesus offers us his yoke for it is easy and his burden is light. How is it that he offers us such peace in exchange for the burdensome life that we carry around? Because Jesus worked on our behalf, and he declares, “It is finished.” You and I no longer need to work to receive anything, because we have already been given everything in Jesus. He worked on our behalf, living the life you and I could never live and taking our place on the cross. And now, he beckons us forward to sit at his feet as he is seated at the right hand of God.
So, let us come. May we let him restore our souls. May we find deep rest and satisfaction in Jesus, for we will find it nowhere else.
-Rilee Blackwell (College Team)