When my daughter was just three weeks shy of her first birthday she got sick – very, very sick. I took her to the ER with an uncontrolled fever and they ran a lot of tests. All they could tell me was that she had an infection but couldn’t find the source. They gave her some medication and sent her home with the instructions that I was to bring her back in 24 hours. Well, we didn’t last that long. Instinctively, I knew something was not right. Nothing really had changed, but I had an overwhelming urge to bring her back to the hospital. It was a good thing. By the time we arrived and triage started to look her over, she was starting to have difficulty breathing. She was having a reaction to the medication that they had given her. They gave her lots of medication to open her airway. Her heart rate went very high. What stumped the doctor though was that, as long as I held her, she slept. If I put her down for them to examine her, she would fight and flail, but as soon as I picked her up, she would become quiet and rest. She didn’t need to fight as long as she was in my arms. She didn’t need to fear, even though she was very ill.
I was reflecting on this event this week. As parents, we provide for all the needs of our children. We are the sole source of love, shelter, nutrition, clothes, etc. We give them everything they need. We are their protection, their security. We are in essence a reflection of God. Often times in the Bible we are referred to as children of God. And the parent-child relationship is a model of the relationship that we have with our heavenly Father. As a child in the arms of our parent, we can be completely at rest because we know we are secure. We know that our Mom or Dad has “got” us. There is nothing that they will let happen to us no matter what is going on around or inside of us. Although there are plenty of times that our children make requests of us (and we do our best to fulfill them), the most precious times are those when the child comes without an agenda, wanting only to snuggle in our arms. And there is nothing more satisfying than a child who falls asleep while we hold them.
Rest has been hard to come by this week for me. Between my shift work, schedule and stress levels, I have had a very difficult time getting the sleep I need. Fatigue then brings on physical, emotional, and mental consequences. I would cry at the drop of a hat, I couldn’t think straight, and my tummy was all upset. Proper rest for our physical body is important to our health. What about our spiritual health? Is it important to rest there as well? There are several verses that refer to rest in the Scriptures:
Matt 11:28-29: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Psalm 37:7a: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret…”
Psalm 46: 1, 10a: God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble… Be still and know that I am God”
I have that last verse on my wall at home. Often I will read it and think, what does that really mean? “Be still and know that I am God.” As I reflected on the above incident I started to understand that if I know the Lord the way my daughter knew me I can safely rest in His arms. Understanding that He is my provider, my protection, my security, the source of my life, I can simply be still. No fretting, no fighting. No worrying that He won’t come through or that He doesn’t have my best interests at heart. I can trust Him with my life and everything that pertains to it. I can rest.
While there are times when I will come to Him with my requests and needs, I don’t have to have an agenda to approach Him. He loves me. I can simply snuggle into Him and find rest for my soul (and my body will follow). He is my heavenly Father. There is no more secure place to rest. Perhaps the secret to real physical rest begins with first finding true spiritual rest in His arms?