I don’t think a single day goes by that I don’t hear at least one person reference or talk about how tired they are or how they need a break from work, school, practice, etc.
Often we dream of an upcoming break or day off filled with napping, watching Netflix, taking time to ourselves… but then when the time comes and we finally get that “break,” the 10 episodes of The Office don’t quite satisfy the deep rest or refreshment we were longing for (and I love the The Office).
Even after a family vacation, yes, a vacation, most of us come back to school or work or practice not feeling as relaxed or refreshed as we thought we would — sometimes even more tired than when we left. Why is that? What does that mean for my Spring Break?
I don’t know about you, but spending time reading and studying the Bible doesn’t always seem relaxing to me — let alone taking my entire Spring Break to go on a mission trip! Maybe turning my brain off to watch Netflix isn’t always as refreshing as I’d like, but how could a weeklong mission trip possibly be more restful? What _is_ rest?
Rest is one of the greatest gifts God gave to mankind. Naturally, we associate rest with sleep. When we are tired, we think of sleeping as resting. If I just had a little more sleep then I’d be completely refreshed and energized to take on the world, right? Well … sometimes.
While I encourage sleeping and physically taking time to cease from life’s demands (and I think that is very biblical), right now I am talking about a different kind of rest.
If we are honest, “turning off our brains” by spending hours on social media or watching TV isn’t giving most of us full refreshment. Why? We need rest that supersedes the physical rest we crave when we are physically tired or sleepy or worn out from each day's work. We need God's rest. God's rest is deep and profound.
What is God’s rest, you ask?
God's rest is not a rest from work, but _in_ work; the harmony of feelings, of will, mind, heart and conscience. Rest is stepping out in faith, understanding and exploring more of who God says He is and who God says we are.
Rest found in the Lord is not a moment or a "break" in our day. Rest isn’t a certain amount of sleep or even a quiet time or prayer (although that’s a part of it), it is the ongoing choice to focus on God, His attributes, and who He says you are in Him.
Why go on a Spring Break trip then?
It is because we are strongly encouraged to enter into God's rest. Hebrew 4:1-3 says:
“Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest …”
So how do we enter God’s rest?
The simple answer? It is through faith that we enter His rest.
Take a step of faith. On the surface, a Spring Break trip can seem like the furthest thing from rest, but a trip like one of these is where you experience community like never before, are introduced to a culture where you can experience God’s heart for all people, and ultimately come home encouraged, challenged, and stretched in your faith.
I believe this is where you will find true rest -- rest that you will be able to bring back with you to school, rest that functions as a profound peace that doesn’t change regardless of circumstance. It is a rest found in knowing God and His plan for His people to join Him in the wonderful restfulness of heaven where all weariness and burdensomeness will be lifted.
Upon returning from an AIA Spring Break trip, I can make no guarantees that you won’t be tired, but I can promise that you will be rested.