Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. Mark 6: 31
Is there anything more peaceful than just sitting and watching snow fall as it blankets the ground and fills the trees? Yesterday as I did so, I felt guilty because there were so many things I should have been doing! Yet, these times are so rare to just soak in the beauty of nature, and I did so, just enjoying the stillness and God’s loving presence with me.
Why is it that we often feel so uncomfortable just resting, being still, and enjoying the quiet? The idea is even quite foreign to most of us who have never been conditioned to do so. Our lives are much too busy, too noisy, too preoccupied to even think of taking the time! Could it be that we actually don’t like the idea of being still, sitting in the quietness, and being alone? Do we fear the thoughts and emotions that might rise to the surface if we did?
Yet, we are weary and tired people, physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are so many demands on our lives, so many expectations others have of us, so much to get done on our lists, so much to worry and think about, and so little time for any of it. We all seem to have “hurry sickness” – always on the go, “a blender brain” – with thoughts swirling around in our heads, and “mental chatter” – as we remind ourselves of all we have to do. Our bodies and minds are exhausted, overwhelmed, and often numb as we go through the motions of living.
Life can become mundane and monotonous, and our hearts can become so filled with loneliness, heartache, worry, shame, guilt, longings that haven’t been met, disappointments in relationships, hurtful experiences of the past, lost hopes for the future, and a deep restlessness of spirit, that there is little room left over for our loving God and especially no room for the joys of life.
He understands and He knows just what we need. He has a gift for us and that gift is rest. He longs to fill us with His calmness and peace. The words of this verse call out to us in such an intimate, loving way, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Can you imagine any more loving words than for our Savior and Lord to say to each of us, “Come with Me. Spend time with Me. Let me rest your weary soul.” Not rest as in sleeping, or reading, or listening to music, but quiet time spent alone with Him to refresh our spirits, quiet our souls, and renew our trust in Him to take all our cares away.
Jesus said these words to His own followers when he saw them pressed on all sides, being overwhelmed by prayer requests, and not even having time to stop and eat and rest. And He knows what we face in our present time and the fast-paced life we live. These are the same urgent requests He gives us today – stop, rest, find quiet, get away, refresh. Even He regularly withdrew to be alone and pray with His Father, and He knows we need it even more!
We need to rest in His stillness and feel His love. And in the quietness, we need to celebrate all that is good and beautiful. As we rest in Him, He will give us the assurance that all is well. Can you imagine the freedom of just letting it all go, freeing your mind of all the cares and worries of this world and spending time with our God who loves us so and longs to give us rest? What a gift He is offering us!
Our heavenly Father, we know of your deep love for us and of your desire for us to come to you for needed rest. Help us to take that brief period of time with you each day to forget the cares of this world so you can quiet our restless spirits and fill us with your love, grace, and assurance. Amen.