I woke up a little rough this morning. I hit the snooze button like 5 times. My wife hit me 6 (once in between to make sure I hadn't turned the alarm off completely). I lay there for a moment thinking about all I had to get done today. When I first woke up, the current state of our world and the church wasn't on my mind. It was what I had to do that mattered.
Then, thoughts about our world began to come in. "I wonder what rights might be taken today?", I wondered. "How far is too far before the people in America care?", I wondered. Then, the words of a friend of mine came into my mind. "It is going to be a good day!"
Every day I see him these words are on his lips. When confronted with a school shutting down they were on his lips. When facing difficulties with staff or students these words are on his lips. "It is going to be a good day."
"IT IS GOING TO BE A GOOD DAY!" I exclaimed in my head as I got out of bed. "Because God is good, anyway."
Just like that, my mind was changed. I was no longer a victim of the government. I was no longer a pastor trying to know the balance of leading people to speak up versus sharing the peace of Christ with them. I no longer was worried about anything. I kicked on some old hymns as I showered.
Maybe I'm getting old, but, there is something about the slow calming music that changes my mind as I listen. I love some of the new songs, but there aren't many that are truly peaceful. Most build into some kind of crescendo.
Then, the words from Lamentations 3:22-23 came into my mind:
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. "
Why are they new every morning? God's mercy endures all day long. But, we seem to notice him more in the morning. Because of rest. When we rest, our minds are changed.
Physically, when we wake, we decide how our minds have been changed. If we rest fitfully, some times we wake up and realize we're grumpy. If we go to bed with burdens, we often wake up with burdens.
But, what about spiritually? How are we resting spiritually? I'll admit, I've been resting fitfully. I've been resting burdened.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28:
"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
But, if we rest in him fitfully, can we expect to go into the world fully or fitfully? If we rest in him while carrying our own burdens, can we go into the world unburdened?
I don't think so. I'm not sure how to fully unburden. I suppose this is the beauty of sanctification.
But, I would hypothesize, for us to experience his mercies every morning, we must first rest. How do we do this?
The Hebrews writer tells us:
"For we who have believed enter that rest" - Hebrews 4:3a
Does that rest come naturally? No.
We must strive to believe everything God says about who He is and what he is up to in our lives:
11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
So, today, my word of encouragement for the future is "Get some rest."
You'll need it in the coming weeks!
And now, a word about finding true rest from the MyPillow guy :)