How many times have you promised yourself: when this project is complete, then I’ll rest. When I get the doctor’s report that I’m okay, then I’ll relax. Hebrews chapter 4 shows something better than “when/then” thinking. It tells us to enter God’s rest today.
By: Evil Erin
Putting conditions on entering God’s rest is dangerous. We, like the children of Israel, risk missing it completely. Another peril is that we cause our loved ones to suffer.
The children of Israel wouldn’t enter the Promised Land while they felt afraid. Their decision doomed them and their children to 40 years of wilderness wandering.
A family in a church we used to attend put this warning in context for me. I was at their home when their first grade son returned from school. He walked in wearing his backpack and a long face. When he stepped off the school bus, his bag of Valentines had spilled into the mud.
Do you remember your first Valentines? Those pink and red reminders that our classmates knew us and liked us had the power to warm a cold February day. I felt his loss.
But his mother was distracted. All she saw was mud. “Don’t bring those dirty things in the house! Put them here.” She pointed to the trash and shooed him out the door.
I know this mother loved her son. Yet both she and her husband were typically preoccupied with life issues. I remembered the lost Valentines years later when I heard that their son, a teen by this time, had gotten involved with drugs.
I shared that story in our small group to illustrate how postponing rest harms the people we love most. One of the men in our group spoke up. The same thing had happened to him in the first grade. He’d dropped his bag of Valentines in the snow when he left the school bus. But unlike the first mother, his mom walked him back to the bus stop and helped him retrieve every missing Valentine. Her awareness that day warmed our hearts decades later.
How do we protect ourselves from the fate of the disobedient Israelites and the Valentines blunder?
- Replace “when/then” procrastination with “today” obedience. Rehearsing past decisions, wrongs, and regrets and worrying about tomorrow only rob us of today (Matthew 6:34).
- Cast each concern on the Lord as soon as it arises (1 Peter 5:7).
- Daily be still with God. Give thanks for your blessings. Tell Him your concerns. I like to journal before bed.
- Listen to uplifting music. Here’s a link to a free download of a new song. “The Red Sea Song” affirms the decision to trust before you see your deliverance.
- Find times to be quiet, read something edifying, and renew your mind with God’s promises.
Think through your reactions over the last few days. Do you wish you could undo some? How many of your poor reactions were due to a stressful state of mind?
It is easy to spot the consequences of distraction in others. It’s harder to see them in ourselves. Today is the only day we have to enter God’s rest.
Choosing rest today protects us from regret tomorrow.
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