My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray; they have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place. (Jeremiah 50:6, NKJV)
History is a great teacher, but we don’t always allow ourselves to learn from it. As I read the stories of the Old Testament, I sometimes shake my head and think—They did it again! They forgot God and turned to the false gods of the surrounding nations. God, in His patience, gave the Israelites many opportunities to come back to Him, but they soon forgot. Their devotion to Him was like a never-ending rollercoaster ride. They experienced times of spiritual highs, but those were often followed by deep plunges into idolatry and sin. Because of their lack of spiritual commitment and stability, they lost their peace and internal rest.
Physically, when our bodies do not get the rest they need, we soon begin to feel the effects. Short-term consequences may include fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration, and even increased appetite. More serious health issues develop after extended periods without rest, and those will shorten our lives. Rest is essential to good health, both physically and spiritually.
Could it be that stress, burnout, and a general dissatisfaction with life are more of a spiritual problem than a physical reaction to our circumstances? Have we allowed our relationship with the Lord to slip to the point that our restlessness comes from losing His peace? Or, as the passage in Jeremiah says, have we forgotten our resting place?
In another place Jeremiah says:
“This is what the LORD says: Stand by the roadways and look. Ask about the ancient paths, “Which is the way to what is good?” Then take it and find rest for yourselves. But they protested, “We won’t!” (Jeremiah 6:16, CSB)
It amazes me that Israel was offered the key to a peaceful, satisfying life but rejected it. They chose to ignore “the way to what is good,” the way to finding rest.
Finding peace and our place of rest may be as simple as once again allowing God preeminence in our life. True rest comes when we take time to enter the presence of the Lord. It’s just as Psalm 23:3 tells us: “He restores my soul.” Another translation says He refreshes my soul. As we relax in His presence, we can feel the stress begin to release and the joy to return. God restores us and energizes us when we choose to give Him priority in our lives.
And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14, NKJV)
There is no need to struggle alone. God is our resting place.
Lord, help me to remember that You are the one who brings rest to my soul and keeps my life in balance. It’s when I enter Your presence that the stresses and problems of life fall away and I feel refreshed in my spirit. You are my true resting place.