Be at Rest

November 19, 2017

When we encounter troubles and receive the Lord’s deliverance, we need to quickly quiet our souls. This will give us the much needed relief from the anxiety that has gripped our hearts. This was exactly what the Psalmist did when he received the healing of his body. He commanded his soul saying, “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you” (Psalm 116:7). It is always important to be reminded of the goodness of the Lord after overcoming our challenges in life. It will encourage us to put our faith in him all the more and give our souls rest. If he showed his love in the past, he will do it again.

What is rest? To rest is to cease from doing any work for the purpose of relaxing. More than this, it is to have tranquility, serenity, calmness and the peace that comes from God. It is freedom from agitation, anxiety or trouble. But how quickly are we troubled? Whenever problems come and we think about them, we are agitated within and we become anxious. It is because our inadequacies and weaknesses are revealed as we deal with these problems. Suddenly, we realize our limitations, and our spirits are disturbed. This was the experience of the Psalmist when his soul was troubled. He said, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 43:5).

To rest is to put our confidence in the Lord and to trust in him. The Psalmist presented this truth beautifully when he said, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). This encourages us to wait on him for deliverance as we face our challenges. We need to be immovable in our faith and trust in him. If we fight the battle ourselves, we will not win. We cannot actually do anything apart from the Lord. It is only on account of his love and mercy that we will overcome.

The reality of life is that we are always confronted with problems. The moment that the thought of a problem comes, whether it is a financial problem, health problem, job-related problem or any other problem, our spirit within us is disturbed and we have no peace. We need to have rest but how can we have it? There are four ways in which we can have rest, best explained by using the acronym for the word REST. The first letter refers to Repose or Rest in Peace. One can have perfect rest when he dies. The Book of Revelations tells us, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on . . . they will rest from their labour, for their deeds will follow them” (Rev. 14:13). Though this gives perfect and everlasting rest, this is not the kind of rest we want for now. This will come later and surely, our good works will follow us to the grave.

The next letter is E and it refers to rest in Employment. The Lord commanded us to have our bodies properly rested from our physical work. He had clearly said, “Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:9-10). Many are physically burdened because they have no physical rest. They overwork themselves and barely have enough time for their body to rest. As a consequence, they find themselves low in energy and soon get all kinds of sicknesses. They work to earn more to pay their mounting bills. However, they should blame no one but themselves for they over-spent themselves beyond their ability to pay.

The next letter is S and this refers to rest in Sickness. One of the most terrifying oppressions that can cause extreme restlessness is sickness. It does not only affect the person who is sick but the rest of the family. Even the most sturdy or courageous of men will melt in fear when faced with death-threatening sickness. To finally find healing brings much needed relief. The Psalmist found such relief and said, “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. The Lord protects the simple hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me” (Psalm 116:3, 6).

Finally, the letter T refers to rest from Tormentors. The most wicked of tormentors is sin. It separates us from God and renders us helpless. The prophet Isaiah said, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). But by the grace of the Lord, we are not hopeless. No matter what the devil will do to torment us, we can find hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “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” (Matt. 11:28-29). Indeed, only the Lord Jesus can give us the much needed rest for our spirit, soul and body. He refreshes us as he provides for our needs, heals our sickness and delivers us from evil. Therefore, we can confidently and joyfully command our souls, “Be at rest once more, O my soul!” Hallelujah!