Rest for the Weary

January 30, 2024  - By Paul Tripp

Rest for the Weary - an article from Well-Watered Women

Editor's note: Content taken from Sunday Matters: 52 Devotionals to Prepare Your Heart for Church by Paul David Tripp, © 2023. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

I wear a fitness ring. It is an amazing piece of modern technology that charts my sleep. It tells me how well I rested, that is, how much of my sleep has been deep, light, or REM sleep. My ring has alerted me to how important physical rest is. It has reminded me how much the body needs a regular time to rejuvenate and recharge. You and I cannot live well without sleep and the physical rest that is so essential to our physical health and well-being. On evenings when I am very tired and fall exhausted into my bed, I often tell my wife Luella how thankful I am for a bed and how grateful I am that God created sleep. Physical rest is a needful and beautiful thing.

You Need Spiritual Rest

But physical rest is not all that we need to function properly. Spiritual rest, that is, rest of heart and mind, is even more important.

We don’t live well, we don’t relate to others well, we don’t make decisions well, and we don’t commune with God well when our hearts are not at rest. Often it is the cares and burdens of life that rob us of rest of heart. Perhaps an ongoing marriage struggle robs you of your joy and produces a debilitating combination of fear and anger. Maybe it is the seemingly unceasing burdens of parenting, that endless catalog of “what-ifs” that create parental anxiety. Or maybe you’re just tired of loading the burden of your children’s welfare on your shoulders every morning. It could be the daily stresses of your job. Your heart tenses up as you drive into the parking lot, knowing what you’re going to face yet another day. Perhaps physical sickness has introduced you to a world of worry. 

Maybe you pay too much attention to the state of the world around you and carry the burden of things over which you have no control. Maybe you wake up anxious because you know you don’t have money to cover the bills, and you are already dreading the phone calls that are sure to come. You may have been betrayed by a friend, and your sad heart plays the scene of that betrayal over and over again. Maybe you’ve experienced more anxiety at your university than you ever thought you would experience, and you’re emotionally worn down. It could be that the weaknesses of old age have robbed you of your joy.

Why You Can’t Rest

Life in this broken, dysfunctional world is not easy. We all face things that confound and confuse us. We all face things for which we feel unprepared. We all carry concerns that are bigger than our ability to solve. We all are confronted by our weaknesses. We all cry out for wisdom and wish we had more strength. We all wish we could change things that we have no ability to alter. We all wonder if we have taken on too much. We all face situations we wish we could get ourselves out of. We all experience moments when we feel small and unable. We all have seasons of worry, where the burdens of life right here, right now are getting the best of us. None of us always feel wise, strong, and capable. None of us.

You may be thinking, “Then how is rest of heart possible?” I am convinced that beneath much of my fear, worry, and concern is self-reliance. Much of what causes my heart to lack rest is my assessment of inability.

I don’t like being confused.
I don’t like feeling as if I lack wisdom.
I don’t like being weak.
I don’t like thinking things are out of my control.
I don’t like feeling unprepared.
I don’t like being afraid.
I don’t like feeling unable.

I want to be independently strong, wise, and able, and when I’m not, it is hard for my heart to be at rest. It is at the epicenter of this spiritual struggle that the gospel of God’s presence and grace meets me. 

Rest in the Gospel

The gospel teaches me that the deepest rest of heart is not found in independent strength and ability. No, true, unshakable rest of heart is found in remembering and celebrating that God is able and that he is with me, in me, and for me. I have hope not because I am independently capable, but because he has invaded my life with his presence, his power, his promises, and his grace. 

God does in me, for me, and through me what I could never do in and of myself. He is strong when I am weak. He understands what confuses me. He is active when I am too exhausted to do anything. He is wise when I am foolish. He wins victories when I feel defeated. Nothing can stop his redeeming plan, nothing can thwart his holy will. In grace he unleashes his glory on me. He is my protection, he is my strength, he is my wisdom, he is my guide, and he is my rest.

When I shift my confidence in him to myself, my rest of heart fades away. But when I remember him and trust in him, even though there is much I don’t understand and many places where I feel unable, my heart can still rest. Why? Because God exists, and he is my Father.

Rest for the Weary - an article from Well-Watered Womn - quote

Meet the Author

Paul David Tripp (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a pastor, an award-winning author, and an international conference speaker. He has written numerous books, including Lead, Reactivity, and the bestselling devotional New Morning Mercies. His not-for-profit ministry exists to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. Tripp lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Luella, and they have four grown children.

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