Entering God’s Rest

What does rest look like? I know I have sought it for decades. It is often elusive. But once tasted, really tasted, it creates a desire for more. The author of Hebrews tells us in Chapter 4 that disobedience prevents us from rest and tells us to “strive to enter that rest.” That phrase has always made me scratch my head in wonder.

An orchid living peacefully in the cleft of a tree.

An orchid at rest in the cleft of a tree.

How do we strive to enter the rest? Isn’t striving the opposite of rest? One translation says “make every effort….” That sounds only slightly softer than striving. It all sounds like a lot of work! In our high-tech lives, the work of entering rest has become more of a challenge.  “Be still and know that I am God!” PS 46:10 Being still does not come easily for most of us.

This following poem reminds me of Moses on the mountain and Jesus sleeping in the boat during the raging storm. Worship may open the door to rest, but then we need to enter it, and rest. Try reading it out loud, slowly.

Not in the turmoil of the raging storm,

Not in the earthquake or devouring flame;

But in the hush that could all fears transform,

The still, small whisper to the prophet came.

O soul, keep silence on the mount of God,

Though cares and needs throb around you like a sea;

From prayers, petitions, and desires unshod,

Be still, and hear what God will say to thee.

All Fellowship has interludes of rest,

New strength maturing in each level of power;

The sweetest Alleluias of the blest

Are silent, for the space of half an hour.

O rest, in utter quietude of soul,

Abandon words, leave prayer and praise awhile;

Let your whole being, hushed in His control,

Learn the full meaning of his voice and smile.

Not as an athlete wrestling for a crown,

Not taking heaven by violence of will;

But with your father as a child sit down,

And know the list that follows His “Be still!”

By, Mary Rowles Jarvis (From Streams In The Desert, April 7.)


How do you find rest…real rest? Do you “unplug?” Do you remember what it is like to “unplug?” I forget sometimes. I like to walk in nature, pray or sing (I make a joyful noise=}.) But at some point in that process I like to stop and listen. When I do, often the word of God begins to fill my mind with God’s love and promises. When that happens, I hunker down on my Abba’s lap and let those truths wash me clean.

I would genuinely enjoy hearing how you unwind and find rest in the presence of God.

Andrea (Madden) Van Boven : I like to think I am a radical lover of Jesus, but I live in a house and pay bills and look like I fit in with respectable society, like most people. What goes on in my head and heart are hopefully the things that betray the look of "normal" that comes at first glance. I hope those things inside of me seep out to actions as well as words of hope and encouragement. I pray that these in turn will lead others to know the loving creator who knows us so intimately that he has a number for every hair on every head.

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