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Read |Genesis 2 - 3|
It has always been interesting to me that scientists have not been able to explain why we need sleep. However, the effects of sleep deprivation are clear. Studies show that sleep deprivation makes us prone to diseases such as diabetes, and negatively affects the brain and its cognitive functions. Lab tests also suggest that without sleep, mammals would eventually die.
Rest is important for me, as if I do not get 8 hours of sleep I feel the effects of sleep deprivation. In a world that goes nonstop, with digital communication and social media remaining active 24/7 and people working by day and playing by night, one might be forgiven to view me as weak. But what of God? In Genesis 2: 2-3, NIV we read:
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Two things strike me from reading this passage. The first is that God entered rest after completing the greatest and most amazing work done on and for Earth – literally!! He rested after making and ordering the heavens and the earth, and everything that would inhabit it. He rested after manifesting His good and pleasing will. Therefore, it is not surprising that in my experience, the sweetest rest comes after engaging the work to which God has called me. The second thing that strikes me is that, not only did God rest but, He made the day on which He rested holy. He set it apart from all the others--as a thing undefiled and precious unto Him. The message is clear: rest is holy and spiritual.
But alas, the fall happened: dangers abounded, rest was disturbed and the gift of work was tainted. (Genesis 3). God knew it would happen. And when He rested from the work He had done, a part of that work was to prepare a way for us to survive the journey of restoration, to be completed when there is a new heaven and a new earth. He made the Sabbath as a gift to us. He gave us the gift of rest: rest for the body by ceasing from the exercise of our own physical strength and rest for the soul by trusting in the perfect work of Jesus Christ for our salvation. Hallelujah!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30, NIV).
At this time of year when the season of Christmas approaches, there is a culture that demands a lot of work – there is the house to be decorated, deep cleaning of this and that, children’s concerts to support. Then there is the stress that comes with extra bills – perhaps from Christmas gifts, increased demand on utilities because of the cold weather, increased food costs because of additional entertaining, extra concert tickets and fundraising efforts for various charitable events, and the list goes on. It can feel too much. I am a woman prone to fatigue and weariness even in the best of times, but as I learn to trust Jesus more and more, I am able to apply the passage of Matthew 11: 28-30 better and better. I am able to lean on the Holy Spirit to help give me wisdom and to distinguish between the work that I am called to take on and the work that I am not. As I close I leave you with these tips:
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Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God who believes that as we seek the truth of God's Word, and humble ourselves to live in agreement with it, that we will experience the transformation which allows us to enter wholistic wellness: spirit, soul and body. She is the Founder and President of EarthBasic and leads its Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together.