On the route I take for my morning walk there are several inviting places to sit and rest. Comfortable benches, picnic tables, big flat rocks…all seem to say, “Stop and rest awhile.” Yet unless I need to tie a shoelace I seldom stop. Why not? I am there for the exercise, it’s true, but won’t I still take the same number of steps if I take just a minute or two to sit quietly and absorb the beautiful mountain views? Why do I tend to resist a rest?
Rest is critical to our well-being and ability to function in this world. And it’s vitally important for those who are grieving. A close friend of mine recently lost her father. She has gone on a relaxing trip with her husband simply to rest. To read if she can. To gaze at a river flowing on its course. Just to rest. Such rest is necessary if we are to allow the Holy Spirit to sift through the memories we have of a departed loved one and separate the painful ones from the joyful ones, the ones that will bring us comfort in the days to come. To grieve well, we must rest well.
In fact, in Matthew 6:28 Jesus suggests we can put much of life into perspective if we will simply “consider the lilies of the field.” This time of year the lilies in the fields of Colorado are the wild Black-eyed Susans. Jesus didn’t say, “stop and consider the lilies if you need to tie your shoe.” He said intentionally noticing and appreciating them will reduce my worries and remind me that my real treasure is stored up in heaven. I can’t really understand that message unless I rest in it.
I find fall invigorating. Maybe it’s because my biological clock is still set to the beginning of the school year—and because I still love sharp pencils, clean notebooks, and new shoes! Yet it’s a busy time for so many moms, dads, and kids. I sense the buzzing all around me wherever I go, and I just want to say, “Take a deep breath, and make time to rest.”
Our elders can also find rest elusive, for any number of reasons. Some of them just feel “bone tired” as my mother would say. They are worn out by life in general, and by how difficult it can be to do the things they used to do so easily. In my senior devotional The Hope of Glory, I encourage these seniors to ask the Lord to give them the rest they need. He promises He will in Matthew 11:28 when He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
On my next walk, I’m going to take time to sit a spell. I will consider the lilies. I will not resist a rest. What about you?