HIGHER THINKING BLOG
Rest is a Weapon By Beth Guckenberger
Rest is a Weapon: Saying Yes to Still
I was asked by one of my pastors to teach one Sunday in a series called “What Jesus Invites Us to.” I readily agreed. Then they said my Sunday would cover “Jesus Invites Us into Rest,” and I laughed out loud.
The Struggle to Rest
I have never been good at rest. I accept the challenged and jumped into the study, immediately looking up “rest” in the original language. Heschazo (to rest, to be quiet, to be still) is all over the Old Testament, but when I got to Genesis 4, my mind raced to understand. I was familiar with the passage, having used it to teach on generational sin, but with no idea of its complete meaning.
The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downward? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” – Genesis 4:5-7
I historically have taught this passage that we all have sin crouching at the door, based on our individual experiences and childhoods. Exposure to sin at a vulnerable age or stage makes the sin at our own door appealing. But when I found heschazo in the middle of this passage, it hit me in a fresh way. It translates better,
“If you do what is right/heschazo (if you are resting, if you are quiet, if you are still), will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right (if you are not resting, are not quiet, are not still,) then sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Rest as a Weapon
Suddenly, the idea of rest shifted from a ‘time-out’ (which I have never liked) to being a weapon I could use in my war against sin.
Could God be inciting me into a rhythm where He is my deep breath? Could time in rest fortify me for the world I am fighting against and the life He has called me too? Could rest in Him be a sign not of weakness or tapping out but of strength and gearing up? Could rest be about not a lack of activity, but instead a still heart?
Filling up is important, because then it allows us to pour out. We can give away what we just received (mercy, grace, wisdom, joy, love) because we know how to tap into the unending source. Isaiah 32:2 says,
“Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.”
That “each one” means us! We can rest in His shelter, under His wing, and in His shade. He gives us rest, because He knows what we are going through and wants to be the place we run. Retreating in Him prevents us from escaping from life. Escape leads to disconnection, whereas retreating leads to lead to growth.
Then, He asks us to extend to others what He has given us. From the rest we receive, we serve and we give to other and to the world lost without Him.
Activity is my fault, but activity without direction is just harried. I want to say yes to still, which isn’t the same as “stop.” It is yes to purpose and priority, over bustle and busy.
How do you view rest? Who has provided shelter for you in the past?
Beth Guckenberger and her husband, Todd, live with their family in Cincinnati, Ohio where they serve as Co-Executive Directors for Back2Back Ministries, an international non-profit that serves orphans and vulnerable children. This post was an excerpt from her newest book release, Reckless Faith: a 40-day Journey of Saying Yes. (Fedd Books 2019)
Christian Leadership Alliance is honored to present Beth Guckenberger as the speaker for The Outcomes Conference 2020 Women’s Luncheon on April 9. If you have not yet registered for the Outcomes Conference 2020, we encourage you to do it now and specifically reserve your seat for this very special gathering of women in leadership!
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