What is it to rest in God?
It is to trust Him. This comes easier for some than others, me included. I’ve never found it easy to trust others in their words or intentions towards me; this inclination to distrust, to expect the worst before the better, translated itself into my relationship with God. It has been a hindrance and a weight I’ve found to be difficult to let go. But, the good news is this: the Holy Ghost is not only a comforter but he’s also an enabler. What is impossible for me to accomplish on my own becomes a possibility, nay, a reality with God. “With God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
So how does one learn to rest in the Lord? It takes time, it takes effort, in short, it is the act of walking on the waters of faith*.
Rest. Trust. Faith. These three are contingent upon the other.
One cannot rest in God without trusting him and one cannot trust him without first having exercised faith. God has been dealing with me about this for a while now. He wants me to trust Him, in His ability to keep me, to grow and complete me. (1 Thessalonians 5:27) He wants me to lean on Him and learn how to trust Him regardless of the problem or difficulty I may face. I trust too much in my eyes (leaning towards my own understanding) because I learned at a young age never to put store in the words of men. Unfortunately it’s a lesson I learned from my natural father. He would often promise us (my sibling and I) something but more often than not he would never follow through. Overtime I began to tune him out; his words would not penetrate my heart because I had hardened my heart and my ears to his promises.
When the Lord filled me with his Spirit and birthed me into this life of salvation I was freed from sin. I was free from sin but I was not strong enough or mature enough to keep my thoughts. So I not only distrusted my natural father but I also distrusted the Lord. I read his words and wanted to believe them, very much. But I didn’t.
This inability to trust became a stumbling block to my growth and eventually that stumbling block became a strong hold. So, what happens to a saint who can’t believe the God they serve?
Doubt begins to fray at the edges of all the petitions one sends up and where there’s doubt, there is also fear. Pair these two with frustration and worry and you have a recipe for disaster. You can’t rest at night nor can you have peace in the midst of life’s storms if you don’t trust God.
Trusting God is especially difficult if a person suffers from low self-esteem or if they’ve had a history with oath-breakers in their life. It’s difficult, but not impossible. Building trust in God comes with time and it comes through relationship. To know God is to love Him, to love Him is to trust Him, to trust Him and in Him is to have rest. Our rest, our peace and our hope lies in God.
So if relationship is the key to establishing trust it is imperative for us to actively seek a relationship with God. It’s what He wants most from us. God doesn’t want to see us or hear from us every now and again. He doesn’t want to be that friend we wave at from a distance. He wants to be the center of our world, for we are definitely the center of His. (Zechariah 2:8).
I have been saved for twenty-four years of my thirty-seven and I’ve only recently come to know that Jesus loves me. It’s sad but true. What’s sadder is that I know that I’m not the only one who’s lived the majority of their saved life not really believing that the Savior of their life loves them. This is why there are so many dissatisfied and unhappy Christians in the world. This is why there are so many who cannot love one another as Christ commands; it’s hard to love your neighbor as you love yourself when you don’t love yourself! It’s hard to sing ‘Jesus loves me this I know’ when in fact, you don’t know. It’s hard to rest in the safety of his arms when you fight just to believe he wants you there to begin with!
I know the pain. I know the fear and the feeling of hopelessness. But beloved, praise God in heaven, I now know the truth! God does love me and he loves you too. He loves us and is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him. (2 Timothy 2:16-17) The story of the prophet, Hosea, speaks eloquently of this fact.God is the most faithful, most trustworthy ‘person’ we could ever know.
Hosea 2: 19 – 20
I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you inrighteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.
He is not afar off. He is not some distant figure that sits in Heaven in all his glory and splendor contemplating his creation as if we’re some kind of day-time drama. He is not content to be that God of man’s creation with flowing white beard and booming voice that sits in austere judgment of the little men on earth. He feels, he has desires and he yearns for an intimate relationship with us. This is why God refers to his church as his bride. (Ephesians 5:25-32)
It was never his intent to have any kind of relationship with us other than an intimate one. When he made mankind he walked in the gardens with Adam and later Eve. He spoke with them as a friend. He knew them and they knew him.
His desires haven’t changed because he doesn’t change. God wants to work in us and through us. He wants to show the world his glory through us. He wants to perform miracles and solve our problems. He wants to laugh with us (yes, laugh – God laughs) and dance with us. This is why he wanted to abide in us. This is why he baptizes and fills his people with his spirit, because he isn’t content to be separated from us. He longs for us so much that he wants to live inside of us! Imagine that!
Beloved I implore you, if you have not received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, seek God until you do. There is no denominational boundary the Holy Ghost will not cross. He never intended for his spirit to be poured out on a select few. The Holy Ghost is the access code that will unlock what you’ve been looking for in Christ.
Rest in the Lord and in his promises. Give up your desires, your ‘intellectual’ understanding and let him have his way in your life. Once you do you’ll find that falling in love with Jesus is the best thing you’ve ever done. It’s an experience and a gift – it’s what makes us a peculiar people. Stop fighting the pull of the spirit, stop fighting to retain control of your life, do what Paul did and ask him, “Who are you, Lord?” I promise, he will answer in ways beyond your imaginings.