A Willingness to Rest Reveals Your Faith

by | Aug 11, 2020 | Rest | 15 comments

I grew up with Sunday Blue Laws. Most stores and businesses closed, and construction work ceased on Sundays so the American workforce could rest. Slowly, Sunday became like every other day. Stores opened, kid’s sports teams competed, and families were drawn hither and yon. Today some malls issue hefty fines to stores that won’t open on Sundays.

Then came COVID-19. Businesses and playgrounds stilled, not for one day, but for months on end. Reviewing the Lord’s commandments on taking a Sabbath rest, I thought of the quarantine and wondered if God allowed the shut-down to get us off of the hamster wheel. The connection between rest, faith, and holiness struck me anew.

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, “You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. …”” (Exodus 31:12-15, italics added).

Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest” (Exodus 34:21).

How many times have you promised yourself you’ll rest after you finish what you’re working on, only to pick up something else? The movie, Van Gogh, a Stroke of Genius reminded me that rest and balance matter in life.

The Restless Artist

One of my favorite artists, Vincent Van Gogh, lived out of balance. Depleted, exhausted, and lonely, he walked into one of his favorite fields for painting and put a bullet through his chest. He died a couple of days later at age 37.

In the last months of his life, he painted two to three paintings a day. I can imagine him reasoning, I must finish this one before the light changes, or, I can’t stop until I get this idea on canvas. I wonder how his life would have been different if he’d taken a day off and trusted God to bring back his motivation and ideas after his rest.

God’s commandments are not burdensome, but freeing. It takes faith to enter rest by abiding in Him throughout the day. It takes faith to set aside one whole day from our regular work to rest and connect with Him.

Focused on “To Do” or “Done”

What if we celebrated our “Done” lists instead of worrying over our “To do” lists? What if we gave thanks for each day’s labor instead of bemoaning what was unfinished? And what if we made our lists from God’s perspective? For example, instead seeing diaper changes as interruptions to progress what if we saw them as ways to instill trust and security in our child.

“To do” lists may drive us, but “Done” lists empower us. They generate gratitude and follow the Creator’s example of reviewing each day’s work with satisfaction.

Learning that I work for God and am only responsible for the part He gives me takes faith. Remembering that my real work is to trust Him takes practice. Taking breaks when there is unfinished business shows trust.

Remembering that my real work is to #trust God takes practice. Taking breaks when there is unfinished business shows #faith. Share on X

The Work God Approves

The Scriptures say to make every effort to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:11). The work of rest is faith (Jn. 6:29). While on earth, Jesus asked this stirring question, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). May we be found doing the work of rest—living by faith—when He comes for us.

For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10 NIV).

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  1. J.D. Wininger

    So very important to be productive rather than merely “busy.” To achieve that, we must remember to rest so that our creativity, energy, and clear-thinking are at their maximum. Leave it to God to think of everything in His greatest creations. Such an important lesson here. I can’t say that I thought of COVID as a respite, but as a call to repentance. Thank you for sharing a different, yet better, perspective.

    • Debbie Wilson

      J. D., taking a day of rest from regular work does revive my creativity. And not traveling and going to meetings provided me time to read more fun books and realize I don’t want to lose that aspect as life picks up again. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ann J Musico

    I always love your perspectives on things, Debbie. I have tried to use this time productively and a big part of that is growing in my faith and walk with the Lord. I see His hand everywhere and in everything and it gives me peace. Thank you for another wonderful reminder.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann! I think we are kindred spirits.

  3. Michele Morin

    Denbie, this is so helpful. I struggle to rest when there is always more to be done, but I see that honoring Sabbath is also honoring God.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Michele, this is a lesson God has patiently and repeatedly tried to help me grasp! I’ve come a long way, but still have a ways to go. 🙂

  4. Melissa Henderson

    Rest brings renewal and refreshment. I am thankful for rest time. 🙂 Rest time helps me focus on Him and not on myself.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Melissa, I like that verse that tells us to be still and know God. I think your words sum that up well.

  5. Yvonne Ortega

    I need my Sunday day of rest and look forward to afternoon naps.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yvonne, I remember when my parents has Sunday naps and I thought that was so boring. Now I’m right there!

  6. Denita Thomas

    Hi Debbie,
    Thanks so much for this! So well written. Not only are our bodies busy, but many of us have overworked minds as well. Taking time to rest allows us to be quiet. When we are quiet, we can listen for God’s voice. We can truly “rest” in His presence.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Denita, oh that mind that resists rest! I think rhythms of rest help my body and mind find rest. But sometimes my mind doesn’t cooperate.

  7. Marielle

    We have been infinitely blessed by our decision to be Sabbath Observant. I haven’t thought of this connection between COVID and rest before though. Thank you for sharing your insight on this and faith!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Marielle, practicing a Sabbath rest had turned that into my favorite day of the week. That wasn’t always true and made Mondays go much better.

  8. Jeanne Doyon

    So good, Debbie. I love how you share scripture with real life. Could I share this with my Pausing Retreat ladies when we meet? I often ask a writer who has something to say about rest to prepare a devotional for the ladies’ packets…a devo for each morning they are on retreat. I would be honored if you would share this with them. Can you get in touch with me to discuss?

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