Monday, February 18, 2013

... And the rest ...

(I've decided to pull out some blog posts from the archives ... this one is from July, 2006 ... )

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested  from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. - Genesis 2:1-3

God rested. I read this passage, and wondered, How does God rest? I asked a Really Good Friend this question. He told me, "God sits in his La-Z-Boy recliner with the remote control, and surfs through 1,000 channels and still can't find anything good to watch!"

hmm.... Man is created in the image and likeness of God ... but I was looking for an answer from the deeper end of the Think Tank...

Our lives can be hectic at times. Whenever I finish a task when I am at work, I take a moment to reflect upon what I did. These fleeting moments of rest are sometimes mini-celebrations. Usually, it's a very brief "Yet, that report is finished!" or "Woo-hoo, I have an empty folder!" And on Friday afternoon when the office door closes behind me, the celebration really starts!

While God was creating the world, he paused at the end of the day to reflect upon the goodness of what he had done. It was a time of to contemplate the satisfaction of a task completed. Then after he finished creating the universe, he made an entire day holy, a day of rest.

Rest is a paradox. It is an activity (a "do-ing" thing) in which we stop do-ing. When we "do" rest, or actively rest, we can just "be" with God.  And God gives us the thing we do -- "rest." Even in resting, we still are doing something. When we rest in God, we are doing what is pleasing to Him. That is when we experience the love, peace, joy, and comfort that comes from being in God's presence.  

In Jeremiah 6:16, we are told "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jesus tells us, ""Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30). The Message translation refers to Jesus' invitation as "learning the unforced rythms of grace." Wow!

But going back to my original question. How does God rest? True, God never stops working in our lives or in the world around us. He never grows tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28), and does not need to stop to be rejuvenated.

Parents find a peaceful and joyful sense of rest when their child comes to them, cuddles in their arms and says "I love you" (without the follow-up question "Can I have ... "). I think in the same way, God rests when we go to him open-armed and empty-handed, with pure love, adoration, and devotion for him, and seek rest in his loving arms.