What does it mean to find rest in God alone? My first thoughts of rest are of sleep and relaxation, but the word rest also means peace of mind and of spirit. I think the later definition fits the Psalmist description. Resting in God then entails having a peace of heart and peace of mind. It means waiting upon Him and not fretting about tomorrow. Resting in Christ results in true trust, believing God to be in control and on His throne.
A week ago I was really struggling and a dear friend encouraged me to focus on the character of God. I have thought about this a lot since then and sought to do just what she said. I began by listing out all the qualities of God I could think of. For instance the fact that He alone is God. He is sovereign over all and in control of all things. He sees all, knows all and is all places at all times. God is love and this great love was demonstrated at Calvary. God is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. God is good all the time. He knows what is best and has my best interest at heart. He see’s the full picture while I only see now. He is perfect and there is no flaw to be found in Him. God is gracious, merciful, loving and kind. Once I had my list together, I began to meditate upon these great truths. Each morning as I have woken up, the first thing I have done is thank God that He is on His throne and completely in control. I thank Him that He sees and knows our situation and that He has a plan for good. I praise Him in advance for what He is going to do and then wait in expectation for what the day will entail. The difference this has made is amazing. For instead of waking up anxious and weary, I have been waking up in anticipation of what He will do.
The struggle of course comes as the day continues on. Yet each time I become anxious, each time my mind began to run off course, I remind myself of these same truths and pray. I will by no means say I have this down to a fine art, but by God’s grace I am trying and finding true rest in Christ.
Does this erase the problems or fix things? No, but the grace it brings and the peace of heart and mind are worth it all and they enable me to wait upon Him by faith.
Mathew Henry explained it like this, “We are in the way both of duty and comfort, when our souls wait upon God; when we cheerfully give up ourselves, and all our affairs, to his will and wisdom; when we leave ourselves to all the ways of his providence, and patiently expect the event, with full satisfaction in his goodness.”
This is what the Psalmist was doing. Despite all going on and what others were saying, David determined to find His rest, his peace in God and encourages all to do the same. He says, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge (v8).” I have always loved the picture these words paint. For David tells us to pour our hearts to God. If you have read many of the Psalms of David you find that David did just this. He held nothing back. He didn’t mince words but shared his heart with the Lord, knowing God already knew his struggles and pain.
I believe this is what the Lord desires of us as well. That we pour out our hearts before Him. Tell him of our struggles, tell him of our pain. Tell him of every anxious thought and fear. For as we dwell in His presence in prayer and pour out our hearts, it is then He can fill our hearts with peace and joy, reminding us of who He is, leading us to rest in Him.
The Psalm ends with a reminder of who God is, it says, “One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”
David knew what struggles were, he understood pain and cried out to God on many occasions. Yet, he had learned that he must remember who God is and take comfort in these truths. David rested in the fact that God was all-powerful and loving. He rested in the truth that the Lord will reward everyone according to what they have done. He rested in truth and because of this He could trust and wait upon God.
I want to encourage any who are weary today, to rest in Him. I want to encourage any who feel they can’t go on, to pour out their heart before God. And for those struggling to believe, I encourage you to make your own list and daily remind yourself of who God is.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation;he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6