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Resting in Jesus

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12
Resting in Jesus Book Cover

hope deferred

Thirty-eight years had passed, and nothing had changed. How long had it been since he’d heard the stories about the pool at Bethesda? And how long had it been since they’d first brought him there?

He’d heard how the waters could heal. All he had to do was wait for them to stir and be the first one there. Surely he could manage that. So, full of hope and expectation, he’d convinced those who cared for him most to bring him there. Maybe they’d stayed with him a while, waiting for the waters to stir, ready to do whatever it took to make sure he was the first one in the pool. But eventually they’d had to leave to tend to their work and families—the many responsibilities of everyday life. Maybe he’d been optimistic about it at first. He’d manage. But how many times had the waters stirred since? And how many times had he done all he could to be the first one there only for someone to beat him to it? Still, what else could he do? So he lay there waiting.

It was the Sabbath—a holy day of rest for the Jews. Maybe it had become an especially welcomed day for him. Hope, it turns out, requires its own kind of labor to sustain. But on the Sabbath, he didn’t have to work. Not at anything. In fact, the Jews forbade it. So of all the days he might have hoped something would change, he couldn’t have thought it would happen then. Not on that day. Not on the Sabbath, the seventh day, the day God Himself rested after creating the universe.

a desire fulfilled

It must not have felt like work to him, though, when Jesus told him to take up his bed and walk. It must have felt like rest. Like true Sabbath. God was still at work on the Sabbath. In fact, God worked so we could have true Sabbath, true rest. And that is as true for us today as it was for the healed man then. Maybe we don’t spend our days sitting by a pool, waiting for the waters to stir, hoping we’ll beat the next person to the blessing. But we toil, we work, we strive, and we compete because deep down we believe that’s the only way to get the blessing. The blessing of success. The blessing of praise. The blessing of acceptance. The blessing of love.

It was on a Sabbath—a day of rest—that Jesus restored a man’s ability to walk. But let’s not miss that the real gift that day was Sabbath itself. The gift of rest. Jesus gave the man rest from his striving and rest from the lie that he had to do it all himself. Today, so many Sabbaths later, rest is the gift Jesus offers us still. We need only to accept it. We need only to rest in him.


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Daily Question

Are you resting in Jesus? Or are you striving with everything you have to be enough? What could it look like to rest in Jesus this week?

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Comments (2)

Resting in Jesus is something I don’t experience enough because of my belief that I must continue to strive: To clean the
house so that it’s perfect., to care perfectly for everyone in my family, to cook the "right" meals, to be the perfect wife, mother, and friend. None of this does Jesus expect. Resting in him would look like peace – incredible, soul-nourishing,
soul-restoring peace. My will is involved and my willingness to let Jesus take the lead is key.

In many things I am resting in Jesus; however, I still strive to be the best I can be – whether it is at work, taking care of my dog & cat, and, most importantly, being a Christ follower and serving my Lord. When most people think of rest, they think of not doing anything – simply laying around. Yet rest can take many forms, such as trusting in God, relaxing in His love, worshiping Him, enjoying His creation, etc.

It would look like a week of hope and peace. He would always be on my mind. I would be praising and worshiping Him in all that I do – whether it is communicating with my students, writing an RFP for work, holding a Zoom meeting with my colleagues, taking a walk, doing laundry, listening to praise music, etc.

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