Everyone needs rest, yet it seems to be more and more elusive. Mass shootings are almost a daily event. We now understand that wars are routine. Natural disasters are part of the new normal, and we watch as our social fabric continues to disintegrate. Events in today’s world do not tend to encourage rest.
Yet, God made man in a way that requires rest...rest that will restore both body and soul. During creation week, He set aside one day out of seven just for rest. So we know that God recognized the need for us to rest even before we were born.
Generally, seniors need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Rest reduces stress and improves overall health. If we get sufficient rest, it will be easier for us to work a full day. Rest improves our focus. An active mind gets tired just like an active body. Providing a time to quiet our thoughts and letting our minds rest is part of the healing process for our bodies. The many benefits of rest include:
Yet, despite all the proven benefits of rest, intentionally setting aside regular time for rest is a practice that has become undervalued and underappreciated in today’s culture. We have become overworked, overstressed, and exhausted. Still, Sabbath (setting aside the seventh day each week for worship and rest) remains a dying practice that fewer and fewer people practice regularly. (Joshua Becker, an American author, writer, and philanthropist.)
God certainly recognized this reality when He gave us the Fourth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11
Rest can often come in the form of catnaps. “A 30- to 90-minute nap in older adults appears to have brain benefits, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
So, what are we to do when we climb (or fall) into bed and night and sleep eludes us? Must we surrender our hope for the rest we seek to the worries and fears of a crumbling world? No. Definitely not!
Why not respond to the invitation of Jesus where He invites us to, “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light”? (Matthew 11:28-29)
How hard can that be? I like the part that says, “you will find rest for your souls.” That’s the very thing we seek, isn’t it?
Maybe we’ve had times like Job when we said, “I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job 3:26. Certainly, life can throw us unexpected, unwanted curves from time to time, but we need not remain permanently planted there.
Maybe we come to times in our lives when troubles come, and we feel surrounded by difficulties. We cannot find rest for our bodies, and all we can do is toss and turn. These are the times it becomes painfully clear we need to connect with the only One who can really give us rest.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength Isaiah 30:15.
May we each discover that kind of complete rest...for both our bodies and souls.