One of the books I’ve been reading is a commentary by Edward Fudge on the New Testament book Hebrews. While scholarly, it reads more like a devotional book, which is what I’m using it for.
Last night I was reading the portion of the book that deals with Hebrews Chapter 4, which talks about entering the Rest of God. The point that jumped out at me was that we enter this rest only when our work is done. Just like God worked for six days creating and then rested on the seventh day, our work will be ongoing until it’s done and then we will enter God’s “Sabbath” rest.
Perhaps the reason this jumped out at me is because several friends are struggling with seemingly unending times of difficulty. John Dobbs wrote about the stormy days that he and his family have been going through. In addition, just before I was reading Hebrews last night, I had read a note from a friend about a new difficulty their family was having to deal with — on top of other ongoing challenges. And just to be honest, I’m a little worn out myself by some of the challenges we have been dealing with.
So here are some thoughts that occurred to me as I reflected on this portion of Hebrews:
1. This life can be difficult. We can look back and see how God has gotten us through difficult times in the past, and know that He will do the same in the present and the future. But these difficulties wear us out. We get tired — physically, mentally, and emotionally.
2. Sometimes God relieves us of a difficulty. A week ago, the doctors had given up hope for John’s father-in-law. This week he’s at home recuperating. My dad doesn’t require chemo or radiation for his bladder cancer. You have similar stories you could tell.
3. Sometimes God doesn’t remove the difficulty and challenge from our lives. Our daughter Sara continues to suffer from a number of medical conditions that can be temporarily disabling, in spite of fervent prayer by so many. You have similar stories in your life.
Our tiredness from dealing with these ongoing difficulties and challenges, however, does serve to make the Rest of God seem so much more desirable.
Rest is a wonderful thing to look forward to after our work here is finished.