Scripture: Isaiah 30:15 CEB
“Therefore, the Lord God, the holy one of Israel, says: In return and rest you will be saved; quietness and trust will be your strength— but you refused.”
The practice of solitude and rest is a practice that is foreign to most. We live in a society that rewards grit and drive. It seems that the more you do and the harder you work the greater the reward. This attitude and value can even bleed over into the way we look at our off time. It shows up in statements like work hard and play harder or go hard or go home. This outlook creates a cultural phenomenon where people work long hours to try and get ahead and then play hard in their off time and never really spend any time resting. Sure, everybody gets some sleep every day. But sleep isn’t the only part of resting. We are a people who may very well have lost the art of rest and solitude.
In the scripture above Israel had been running fast and hard away from God. They were doing what they wanted to do and not what God wanted for them. In fact, they were doing even worse than what they wanted … in most cases they were doing what the culture deemed good. The problem with that is God told them exactly the opposite. When the people of God were given the Promised Land, God told the people of Israel to avoid the cultures they would overtake. The reason being that they were to be set apart as God’s chosen people. In essence, the people disregarded what God had told them and did what they wanted. This caused them to be shut off from God. Through the prophet Isaiah, God tells the people of Israel to return and rest in God – instead of their own way. Being quiet in the Lord and trusting God would give them strength, but they refused God’s advice.
Today, we must ask ourselves the same question. Have we refused God’s call to return to God and rest in God? Do we spend enough time in quiet and trusting God? My guess for all of us is that we do not spend enough time resting in God. Even the marketplace is rediscovering the importance of rest. There is a company named White Space that is teaching businesses the importance of giving their employees time to regroup, to think, and to rest. What they have found is that this leads to greater productivity, effectiveness, and creativity in the workforce. What is interesting to me is that this is God’s idea. God desires for us to rest. So much so that God set the example in the creation story. God created for six days and on the seventh day God rested. It is so important for us that God modeled it for us. We could even say that on the seventh day God created Sabbath. It is just as important as the other six days. We really need to heed God’s call to return to God and rest.
How are you doing? Do you rest in the way that God calls us to? What is your plan for solitude today? Each day we should plan to schedule ample time for solitude where we can rest in God’s presence. If we will do this we will find that we are actually more effective the rest of the day. Our mind will be clearer. We will be more aware of our purpose. We will feel God’s presence with us in the other moments of the day. Isaiah tells people that solitude, rest, trust and quiet will be their strength. If we want to be strong we must make time in our day for solitude and rest in God. What is your plan today?
Prayer: Creator God, thank you for your example of rest. Thank you for your Son, Jesus, and his life and ministry and how he demonstrated the importance of solitude and rest in you. Empower us today to find moments of rest and solitude. We long to be in your presence today where we can listen to you in the quiet. Inspire us today to seek you in the quiet places. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.