By Rondi Lauterbach
How’s your summer going?
Last time we talked about Summer Rest we looked at the problem of unfinished work. It’s hard to take a break when you still have things to do. But God’s rest is different:
We can rest not because our work is finished, but because His is.
Let’s build on that. What happens when your work is done, really done? You’ve turned in your last paper, met your deadlines, emptied your inbox, loaded the car, and left your key with the neighbor. As you head out on vacation, do you find it hard to rest?
I do. Even after I’ve taken a nap. Even when I take along my favorite escapist reading, a John Grisham novel, I find myself restless. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I propose that there’s more to rest than finishing our work, more than being off duty. True rest is a condition of our soul. It involves entering into the rest of Christ, which we do by trusting him. It results in delight. Hand clapping, foot-stomping, chuckles-to-guffaws delight. What can we delight in? Our work, for starters.
Delight in your work
When God rested from his work of creation, he looked back at all that he’d made and said, “Look at this. It’s very good!” Genesis 1:31. Do you hear his delight?
When I rest from my work, I tend to shrug my shoulders and quip, “Well, good enough for government work.” I see the flaws. I’ll try to do better next time. Frankly, I’m just glad it’s done. That’s a far cry from delight.
How would I delight in my work? Give myself a gold star? Pat myself on the back? Actually, delighting is a chance to find meaning in the work of my hands. To see it as a gift from him. To thank him for all the ways he provided for it. To hand the finished work back to him for his blessing, so that it results in blessing beyond my efforts.
One way you might start your vacation is to reflect. Take some time in the car as a family or alone in a coffee shop to consider the work you just finished. How was it good? What did you learn? How did God help you? How did you grow? Whom did you bless?
You’ll be surprised at the delight that begins to grow like a blush from your toes up.
Delight in His Work
What about the work God has done in your life this year? In your family? Our God is not just our once-for-all Creator and Savior. He’s actively involved in the daily ups and downs of our lives. He’s sustaining his creation, you and me and the family dog. He’s continuing to save his people, you and me and the rest of the people in the car who know Jesus.
I know what you’re thinking. Trying to get your family or your roommates to talk about “what has God done in your life this year” on vacation is like trying to give thanks while the whipped cream is melting on the pumpkin pie. You just get empty looks or quick answers.
Instead just start enjoying each other. Be amazed at the five year old who hiked the whole trail by himself. Give kudos to the eight year old who can now tackle the bigger slides at the water park. Admire your husband’s golf swing. Laugh out loud when your dog runs downhill so fast she turns a somersault.
You can save quieter reflection for later. Try one of these questions to get you started:
• What is one thing God saved you from this year?
• When did you need him most?
• What did you learn about him that surprised you?
• What did you learn about yourself (that didn’t surprise him)?
Find rest not just by talking, but by delighting in his work in you.
Receive His Delight
Right about now we begin to formulate a new law for ourselves: if I want to have a good vacation, I’d better spend part of it delighting in the LORD. Then we come up with rules to help us do it well enough to earn rest. Ha! Gotcha! Me, too.
Here’s some good news. When you delight in him, you are simply entering his delight — in you. Do you find that hard to believe? Hear these words from him:
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. Psalms 16:3
He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. Psalms 18:19
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalms 147:10-11
Have you ever entered a conversation too late to hear the joke, but the laughter was so contagious you couldn’t help joining in? Enjoy the joke. Share his delight. Enter his rest.
Rondi entered the Ivy League full of personal ambition and left under a new Master. Her passion is to help women see Jesus in the Word and be nourished by him. She has been a pastor’s wife for over thirty years, a mother of three, and now a very happy grandmother. She and her husband Mark live in San Diego.
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