Learning to Rest

Have you ever thought, “I’ll rest after I finish this.”  Of course, if you finish it, there is something else to take its place.  This weekend Larry and I went to the IMAX cinema to view Van Gogh, a Stroke of Genius.  The photography and his paintings were magnificent.  The message I gained was a powerful reminder of the need for rest and balance.  Vincent Van Gogh was a genius painter, but lived a life out of balance.   Depleted, exhausted and lonely at the age of 37 he went out into one of his favorite fields for painting and put a bullet through his chest.  He died a couple of days later.

The last months of his life he painted two-three paintings a day!  I can just imagine him reasoning that “I must finish this one before the light changes,” or “I can’t stop until I get this idea on canvas.”I couldn’t help but wonder, “Would he have lived to paint many more beautiful paintings and had a happier life if he had lived a more balanced life?  How would his life had been different if he’d taken a day off and trusted God to bring back his motivation and ideas after his rest.”

God seems to have anticipated our excuses for not taking a rest.  Exodus 34:21 reads, “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.”  I’m not a farmer, but I understand that when the crop is ready you have a very short window of time to gather it in or it will be lost.  The temptation would be strong to not rest during harvest time.

Rest is an act of faith.  Do I believe God is the one who meets my needs?  Do I believe God knows better than I what is best for my life?  Hebrews 3:19 tells us that the children of Israel were not able to enter God’s rest because of their unbelief.  Unbelief is at the root of not being able to stop and take a break!  That puts a a different spin on it.

Are you in harvest time?  Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 shall find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”


Debbie W. Wilson

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