It seems lately that I live in a constant state of exhaustion. (Such is life with a two year old, I guess.) As I type this my daughter is napping and I’m wondering if I should do the same. All of these thoughts about sleep and naps and rest reminds me of the fact that God NEVER sleeps. Psalm 121:4 says,
“Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.”
God is self-sufficient and never gets tired. Even while I’m sleeping; He keeps a constant watch over all things. He’s even watching over little ol’ me! While that is a comforting thought; I often wish I didn’t need sleep. Think of all the things I could accomplish if only I didn’t need 8 hours of sleep and an occasional nap!
But, Scripture says that God gave sleep to us as a gift. God designed our physical bodies to need rest and restoration through sleep.
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his sleep.” Psalm 127:2
Our physical body is not the only part of us that needs rest. Spiritually we are all in desperate need of rest. Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Because of sin, our hearts are tired. For many of us, including yours truly, our first instinct is to strive to do good, to make things right, to pull up our boot straps and fix our hearts on our own. But Jesus says that we can come to him, not laboring and striving, but freely and he will give us rest. Because of the cross, we can rest from the constant work of trying to get to God on our own merit. The work has already been done, all we have to do is rest in Jesus.
In the Old Testament God gave the Isrealites the gift of the Sabbath, a day of rest once a week. For them specifically, the Sabbath law was a picture of the rest God would eventually give them when they reached the Promise Land. But the Sabbath is also forshadowing for all of God’s people. God has promised us an everlasting rest that was ushered in by His Son. The ultimate fufillment of the Sabbath promise will happen when believers enter God’s rest in the new creation God will bring when Christ returns.
“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:9-10
So, as I contemplate my constant state of exhaustion, I’m grateful for the gift of sleep for my physical body. But, I’m also thankful for the constant reminder that I can stop all my striving and laboring and find true rest in Jesus.