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Rest as an Act of Faith

Jul 08, 2024

This post is by Cindy Chen.

Do you trust God enough that you take a break?

When I was a new mom with a toddler and infant at home, there were times I probably lost my mind. I think it was under a pile of dishes, deep in the recesses of the messy closets, or lost in the fridge that needed purging from accidental science experiments. There was so much to get done, so many needs, and such a learning curve, that I could not stay on top of anything. And when someone would suggest, “You need a break. Take a nap when the baby naps,” or other helpful advice, I had an excuse. There was no time. The toddler didn’t nap. My husband worked long hours at a stressful job. Everything depended on me.

Except, it didn’t. Yes, I had certain responsibilities (I was the only one in the house who produced milk, for example), and knew that the purple plate made food taste better, but I was not the only one who could keep things going. I was afraid that if I let myself breathe for a little while, things would get out of control. So I lived for an entire season of life under a blanket of overwhelm, exhaustion, and anxiety. Oh, yes, I was a delight.

One of the most compelling verses in scripture is this, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28 NIV) We all need rest, and Jesus offers us rest. But to receive rest from Jesus, we have to get it by faith. 

There is a difference between saying, “I can’t do it all! I give up,” then hiding under a blanket, and a deliberate choice to rest and trust that God is able to help you, restore you, and provide the ability, energy, and opportunity to do the work at the appropriate time. 

And God even commanded rest for His people in the 4th commandment (Exodus 20:8-11), to follow the example of His own rest after creating the entire universe. I don’t know about you, but if I made a new world and stars that have to orbit perfectly, and an ecosystem to maintain, and new humans who haven’t ever even seen a sunrise yet, I would want to mess with it a little. But God saw that his work was sufficient, even very good, and took a break from creating. He just let it run while he enjoyed it and watched. 

The Sabbath was created for us finite humans (Mark 2:27).  He gave us the opportunity to rest for our own good. We, unlike God, need to rest. Part of the reason that the Sabbath was established was that God knew in a non-structured society, and a people accustomed to being enslaved, with no rest, no PTO, no 40 hour work week, they could believe that it was their sweat, effort, and ingenuity that provided for them. The one day that they did not work was to remind them that it is not their strength that provides, but the Lord who had brought them out of Egypt, and was leading them into the promised land, where they could both work and rest. 

Most of us don’t observe the Sabbath in the same way, but Jesus came to offer us rest from our work toward salvation. (See Hebrews 4) He came to give us vibrant, abundant life, and that includes not working ourselves into a frenzy on the daily, believing that it is by our effort that we provide everything we need to live and thrive. 

Some of it is a matter of prioritizing, time management, and careful consideration of what we can really do. Plan Time is a vital part of our days, and is an act of faith, that He gives wisdom, help, and eyes to see the right things to do in a day. Do you trust that God knows what you need? He knows you need rest, too.

Cindy Chen lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Sam, and 4 kids, 2 dogs, and 5 hens. She is a writer, a preschool teacher, a children’s ministry leader, and an avid podcast listener. Cindy has recently taken up running, though observers would call it “slow jogging.”

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash


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