Have you ever noticed that when you go away on holiday it isn’t quite the rest you were hoping for? Your problems follow you, don’t they? And even if you manage to ignore them, they seem to be waiting when you get home. Proper rest alludes you, and you come home as tired as you were when you went.
People today are tired. Sleep disorders have become so much the norm that there are countless books, sleep-training apps and articles for dealing with this problem.
Step 3: Soul Satisfaction
Although a holiday in a beautiful place or some and sleep training can definitely help a little bit, these are temporary fixes and will never truly satisfy the ache in our souls, or restore us fully. That’s because Jesus himself is our only true source of rest.
Remember Jesus’ invitation to come to him and find rest for your soul:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
This kind of true, soul rest is available every day, even in the midst of the busiest life. Jesus practiced this kind of intentional rest, frequently going off on his own to pray and spend time in the Father’s presence. David also knew how to rest in God’s presence. And it’s a lifestyle we too can learn.
In Step 1 we looked at Psalm 63, where David, parched and weary in the wilderness, describes how every part of himself thirsts for God. He continues in verse 3:
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”Psalm 63:3-8
“Because your steadfast love is better than life”.
David knew God’s steadfast love, and this is what motivated his pursuit of God. God’s loving kindness meant more to David, than life itself. How often do we hear the phrase, “you only have one life.” In other words, grasp every bit of enjoyment and pleasure out of it that you can. But that wasn’t David’s philosophy for living. We only have to read Psalm 27 to see that everything within David longed for the presence of God. Where others might chase after enjoyment in life, David was content to enjoy God’s steadfast love.
“You satisfy me more than the richest feast.”
David knew that the exhaustion and thirst he experienced, both physically and spiritually could only be satisfied in a surrendered seeking of God, in receiving his great love, in praising him without reservation. It wasn’t religious ritual that motivated David, but real relationship with the Living God, whom David knew as his source of life, love, strength, power, provision, shelter, wisdom and goodness David knew that God alone could satisfy his soul, and time spent in God’s presence was like sitting down to a sumptuous feast of the richest, most nourishing foods, resulting in a satisfying fullness of his soul.
In five ways in this short passage of scripture David expresses his absolute delight in God: I will praise you, he says, I will bless you, I will sing for joy, I will lift up my hands, my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.
David ends this particular portion by saying, “in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
Today, when you take time out in your designated quite place, focus on the great truth of who God is. Think about his steadfast love and faithfulness, and praise him out loud for being the place of the rest and shelter you long for.
Here are a few scriptures to help get you started:
“For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:5
“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:1-2
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30
“If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” Psalm 94:18-19