My wife and I enjoy family holidays, which can sometimes be very busy. We also enjoy short simple holidays together on our own, now that our family have long ago ‘fled the nest’. We have just returned from such a holiday, which turned out to be very different from what we expected. Usually we love to get into the car every morning after worship and a leisurely breakfast each weekday, not knowing where we are going to go, but stopping at any small village or town that we come across and parking the car. We get out and have an easy browse round the place enjoying whatever we see, but always noting the various coffee shops. We also seek to engage the locals in conversation, bringing the conversation round, when we can, to ask what is the best local coffee shop! When we eventually settle this big question, we make our slow leisurely way to the chosen shop and enjoy a coffee, and a scone and jam shared between us, sitting sometimes rather long discussing, preferably, some biblical topic. Eventually, we get back into the car, and off to the next place. The day always seems to pass very quickly
This last such short holiday did not turn out the way we expected. We were ‘snowed in’ for the duration. The snow was so deep that the car remained parked at the hotel until the day we left! We managed two outings each day, walking upstreet through deep, and often falling, snow to buy a newspaper, then stopping on the way back to our hotel to visit, you’ve guessed it, the local coffee shop. We then spent our day reading and enjoying watching the snow falling until evening when we again made our way back to the coffee shop where they served excellent evening meals.
Were we bored? Not at all, because we soon realised that the Lord was treating us to what we needed most of all: an enforced rest! We could not say that we had an exciting holiday, yet we had a wonderful rest; a great renewal, and refreshing of body, mind and soul. How important is rest to the christian? It is extremely important. The Lord does not put us on a treadmill so that we keep going without rest. There is too much about stopping and resting in the bible for that to be the case
Jesus said to His disciples, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). The Sabbath rest was instituted before the fall of man (Genesis 2: 2,3), and our weekly Sabbath is a foretaste of heaven: “There remains therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4: 9). The christian is not required by God to be so busy as to deny his humanity. He needs to stop and have rest and quietness in order to truly know and enjoy God, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46: 10). Probably Psalm 23 is the best known Psalm in the Book of psalms There David says, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside still waters” (Verse 2).
It should not be necessary for believers to be forced into rest, but, if an enforced rest is necessary as it was with us, God will ensure it.