Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we need to slow down and learn to rest

Finding Rest in God

A devotional by Sarah Cole

“Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.”—John 4:4-6 (NIV)

Do you ever feel like a dead cell phone battery? Are you driven by endless tasks that scream for your attention?

Lately, that's been my struggle. God has urged me to slow down for weeks, but I've been distracted and restless. Like a stubborn two-year-old, I continue to push myself by saying yes to commitments instead of to Him. Being busy with what is good has kept me from God's best: rest.

Does this sound familiar? In today’s world, finding time to rest seems impossible, but knowing it was a priority for Jesus Christ might change your mind. Jesus walked 35 miles in the blistering sun before arriving in Samaria, a direct route from Jerusalem to Galilee. By the time He arrived at the well, He was likely parched and hungry, and His feet most likely ached, so Jesus stopped to rest. On any given day during His ministry, thousands needed Him, yet Jesus stopped what He was doing and retreated to a quiet place to connect with His Father in prayer (Luke 5:16).

If the omnipotent Creator of the Universe needed rest, why don’t we take time to rest too? Society has given rest a bad name, but God designed us and He knows what we need. Therefore, when God tells us to slow down, and we refuse, He'll do it for us.

Recently I took my cell phone to the big box store because its battery wouldn't charge. An employee told me that debris in the charging port prevented it from receiving power. I didn't need a new phone; I needed a Q-tip to clean it. When the demands of life exhaust us, Jesus invites us to recharge our batteries by removing unnecessary commitments from our schedules so we receive the rest our souls need (Hebrews 4:16).

It's more than just our lives that can get cluttered. If we're not careful, sin accumulates in our hearts and keeps us from receiving the fullness of what Jesus died to give us. He didn't design us to live as if everything is up to us. Instead, He wants to carry our burdens so we don't burn out. When we humble ourselves by confessing our sins, we experience His forgiveness and freedom (1 John 1:9; Matthew 11:28).

St. Augustine said our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God. While the world tells us to chase productivity, Jesus invites us to embrace His pace for our lives that never depletes us. So, the next time your phone battery is low, and you need strength to keep going, go to Jesus. He's anxiously waiting to connect with you!

Let's Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, when life's demands weigh heavily on my heart, I'm grateful my soul can rest in You. When I take the time to experience Your presence and power, I know that whatever comes my way, Your plans for me will succeed. In Jesus's Name, I pray, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Will Rest in You” by Jaci Velasquez. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. As she got older, her mother’s chronic illness inspired her to design a line of greeting cards. Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their “Best of” spread. 

Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about Gigi (her Cocker Spaniel) was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

Since 2022, Sarah’s devotionals have been published in The Secret Place by Judson Press, as well as David C. Cook’s Devotions and The Quiet Hour. To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watching cooking shows, designing cards and mugs, and taking day trips.

Connect with Sarah:

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