The issues surrounding the coronavirus—how long this quarantine will last, how the stock market will impact us, and how to pay bills when we can’t work—not to mention what we’ll do if the toilet paper runs out—pose a real threat. In addition to this, the normal cares of life don’t stop with a worldwide pandemic. Added stress strains relationships that are already experiencing more “together” or “social distancing” time than normal. Yet the Bible says not to fear any of those things (Matt. 6:25-34). But it does tell us to fear something I bet you’re overlooking.
God wants you to fear missing His rest!
God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it” (Heb. 4:1 NLT).
Say what? Missing God’s rest hardly tops my list of fears—but it should.
How Do We Rest from Fear?
The rest God offers us is different from the rest He offered Israel. But both hinge on faith. The Bible uses Israel as an example of how we can miss God’s rest.
God delivered Israel from mighty Pharaoh and promised to lead the nation into the Promised Land. The Promised Land flowed with milk and honey and provided protection. But they listened to their fears instead of heeding His promise. As a result, instead of picking juicy grapes they ate manna all day—every day—for 40 years as they wandered in circles in the wilderness (Heb. 4:2-3). If only they had believed God!
What is rest?
- In the Old Testament God’s rest was an abundant land.
- In the New Testament God’s rest is an abundant life.
Where do we find rest?
- In the Old Testament rest was found in a place.
- In the New Testament rest is found in a person.
Today, worry drives us harder than any Egyptian taskmaster drove the Hebrew slaves. At least taskmasters slept. Instead of having to leave the country, our jobs, or our circumstances, we run to Jesus (Jn. 10:10; Jn. 16:33). As unbelief kept the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness, so unbelief in the power and care of our Lord keeps us in restless turmoil.
Jesus used the example of a farm yoke to help us understand how our relationship with Him works.
Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light’” (Matt. 25:28-30 NLT).
A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of animals that enables them to work together to pull a load. Sometimes a farmer yokes a young animal to an experienced, stronger one. The strong animal carries the brunt of the burden and guides the young one.
Being gripped by fear if like living with a ball and chain that leaves us exhausted. But when we choose to live yoked to Jesus we find rest for our souls. He is our burden bearer.
Someone described FEAR as:
Setting our minds on Jesus empowers us to release our fears and enter God’s rest.
What helps you rest in God when you’re tempted to worry?