“Rise up, Lord, and come to your place of rest (Ps 131).”
How often do we define ourselves by what we’ve accomplished instead of who we are? Are we human beings or human doings? When every item on our to-do list is crossed off (and when does that happen) have we become any closer to God in the process?
Psalm 131 asks God to come to His place of rest. But if God keeps the universe going every second, how can He be resting? And what does that mean for us?
God is rest because He is self-sufficient. He doesn’t need us and he doesn’t need the universe. The Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is all-in-all, whose being is the reason for the existence of everything else — everything visible (like the granola bar I had for breakfast) and invisible (think angels and gravity).
This is a clue to what “rest” could be for us: if God is all-in-all, then rest is a close connection with Him. When we’re resting in Him, we recognize that He, not us, is running the universe. What a concept!
As our day gets into gear, it’s easy to forget to rest in God – it starts to feel as if we’re running things. In the excitement and satisfaction of achievement, we can forget to keep asking God for help because it feels like we’re the one making everything happen.
For King David, finding a resting place for God was so important that he vowed not to go to sleep until he had found it. For David, the resting place of the Ark was “in the plains of Jaar.” For us, the resting place is in the plains of our heart.
“I will not go to my tent, my home, nor go up to my bed of rest…until I have found a place for the…Mighty One of Jacob. (Ps 131).”
David reminds us that no to-do list can compare with simply inviting God to rest in our hearts. But what does this kind of rest look like?
In exercise class, “active recovery” means slowing the pace a bit after a period of heavy-duty effort. Students catch their breath even as they keep moving. This is a good description of resting in God during a busy day. It’s a spiritual “active recovery” when we keep on going, but remind ourselves that God’s running the universe and our to-do list is about doing everything with God, not about getting the results we imagine we have control over.
That way, we can detach from our expectations and enjoy friendship with God, realizing that He’s in control. This is huge—because enjoying God is really practicing for heaven. It’s the “one thing necessary” that Martha missed as she raced through her to-do list (Lk 10:41). Enjoying God during our work day means we don’t have to get upset if there are bumps and surprises along the way.
Easy? No. But King David knew that if we don’t put God first, nothing else matters. And God called David “a man after my own heart (Acts 13:22).”