There’s something about strolling along a quiet beach that brings calm—an escape from the struggles and challenges of life. With a passion for excellence in any career comes the need to keep balanced as well. Christ regularly took time for solitude with His Heavenly Father. Throughout Scripture we see how God meets man in the “quiet places” of His creation.
When God spoke to Moses, on top of a mountain and in the Sinai desert, the hectic pace of the Egyptian palace was far way. God finds Jacob’s undivided attention in a wadi somewhere in Mesopotamia. Both Elijah and John the Baptist went to the wilderness to seek counsel with God.
When Jesus sent His disciples out for the first time, they returned to Jesus to report on their work. But the Scripture says, “Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” (Mark 6:31)
I confess that I don’t always get this right. Although I’m doing better at managing stress and balancing my priorities, I don’t schedule enough time to just get away and rest. Ironically, I think for many men, resting may be the most difficult of all disciplines to practice. We all make excuses for not resting. We convince ourselves we don’t deserve it, just don’t have time, or can’t afford it. The reality is we can’t afford not to.
While on a respite in Monterey, California, Louise and I took a short trip to Big Sur and visited a small log house set among the tall redwood trees. We enjoyed an artichoke and glass of iced tea, while taking in the magnificent vista and surf below. As I think back on that experience, we were so relaxed and reflective in that beautiful setting.
You don’t have to go far afield to find rest. Although I find getting away for a few days to be especially refreshing. Seek rest in a solitary place in your home. Perhaps you find rest in putzing in the garage on your favorite hobby. Spend a quiet evening with your wife. Go for a hike or walk. Sit patiently in a boat fishing. Read a book. Take a nap. Simply get away and rest.
If you have children, teach them to rest too. Ask them to set the Xbox or other gaming device aside for a day. Do something restful and relaxing with them. Be an example to them of what it means to rest, and to quietly trust God in your resting.
Use the discipline of rest to draw near to Jesus. When we come to Jesus with no agenda, He helps us forget the sorrow, concerns, and frantic schedules in our lives and move us to a place of rest. There we find peace.
Think back on a time when you experienced real rest. What was it about that situation that made it so restful?
Come up with a time and place where you can find rest daily.
Jim Grassi, D. Min.