Trouble and its assistant, bad news, appear in different shapes and strengths, and show up regularly. If inner rest could be bottled and sold, it would be a global winner. But we need much more than a survival tonic. We need a supernatural, inner well-being beyond man’s ability to replicate or explain, one that allows us to fully enjoy the quality of life designed for us…in both the smooth and the rough parts of our journey. Which is why God has given us access rights to his restfulness.
He created us to live at rest in him. Daily life is our classroom, and his Spirit is our Trainer in the journey of learning how to live restfully.
Rest is more than quiet after a storm. It’s an inner stillness during it. Rest isn’t subject to our circumstances, because God isn’t. Our rest is because of him, and is an expression of him. But, it’s not an auto-download. It’s part of our journey of growing in his grace. He enables the journey, but requires us to take ‘steps of desire’.
Rest elements include:
Trust – leaning fully on what the Lord says about himself (even when the mind protests, Prov 3:5). When storms/circumstances of unrest come, there are truths about himself that the Lord has already exposed us to, and which he wants us to step into. Usually, that step-in calls for a step from thoughts or behaviour that conflict with that truth. Truths about his faithful love and goodness are particularly meaningful for strengthening trust.
Rejoice – joining in the Lord’s celebration of what he has done to make the above truths our experience. Thanking is a big part of the celebration. It’s an offering that expresses trust. At times it might initially be without gladness, but emotion will gradually be drawn into the dance.
Peace – grace from the Lord that fills thoughts and emotions with stillness and contentment. It’s a powerful gift, but fragile. Thoughts or behaviour that are out of agreement with the Lord (missing the above step from of trust) can hinder our enjoyment of his peace.
Pray in the Rain
The Pray Scripture Bank passage we’ll use for praying REST is Isaiah 46:4.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
As Israel’s Maker, the Lord promises them three things as an expression of his enduring love. He doesn’t hide the fact that their journey will be rough, but he promises that, as certainly as he made them, he will also carry, sustain and rescue them.
Each part of his promise can be used as a prayer conversation piece to strengthen the trust and celebration that hosts his peace.
I MADE you; I will CARRY you
The Lord knows our path. There will be some wonderfully smooth sections, but also some rough ones. He shows his love for us by carrying us ALL the time. We might not be conscious of being carried in the smooth times, but praying trust in him in these times prepares us to do the same in the rough patches. The next step from trust-strengthening prayer is celebration.
Pray TRUST: Admire a trust-strengthening truth about the Lord. For instance, praise him for his enduring love, magnify his faithfulness, declare his goodness, or exalt your Maker for being present to carry you in a journey impossible to make without his help.
Pray CELEBRATION: Rejoice in being a carried one, held lovingly, firmly forever by your Maker. Be glad at how valuable you are to him. Share in the Lord’s joy over what he has done to make you his carried one. Thank him for the way awareness of being carried by him changes how you face today, and how you view the unknown tomorrows. Shout with joy, sing a new song, dance, play an instrument, laugh and give thanks that the Lord in whom you trust always remains true to his promise to carry you.
In the same way, use the next two parts of his promise as prayer conversation pieces:
I MADE you; I will SUSTAIN you
I MADE you; I will RESCUE you
Trust and joy in the Lord draws his peace. If there is still inner unrest, check whether your step into the trust-strengthening truths also needed a step from thoughts or behaviour that hinder agreement with the Lord.