Surber: Restless and weary

Published 9:11 pm Friday, June 15, 2012

Have you ever slept on a hardwood floor? In case you haven’t, I’ll explain what it’s like. It’s hard. It’s the floor. That pretty much sums it up.

One of my sons has difficulty sleeping. It isn’t at all uncommon for him to scare the life out of me at 2 a.m. as he silently taps my forehead until I startle awake.

I’ll often lie on the floor — the hard hardwood floor — next to his bed while he goes back to sleep. The sacrifice of helping my son back to sleep is mild enough. What isn’t mild are the aches and cramps that I end up with if I am tired enough to fall back to sleep on that floor for the rest of the night.

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Just because you are asleep doesn’t mean you are resting. Similarly, just because you engage in some activity that promises to bring rest doesn’t mean that it will.

To be sure, rest is an important part of all activity. In a musical composition, it is the pause between notes, the rest, which creates the momentum and message of the music. In public speaking and preaching, the silence between two statements creates anticipation and gathers people’s attention.

The English art critic John Ruskin noted, “There is no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it.”

Notes crammed together don’t make music any more than a bunch of words spoken with no pause, like an auctioneer making a speech.

Child of God, where are you making your bed? Where are you seeking rest? Are you seeking solace on the golf course on Sunday morning rather than in the presence of God in worship? Are you filling your life with activity in the hopes that it will bring rest?

Perhaps it isn’t distractions that keep you away from the worship gathering. Is it work you believe cannot wait? It has been well said that “Rest and motion, unrelieved and unchecked, are equally destructive.”

God offers respite in worship, but the sounds of our ceaseless activity so often deafen us to His voice. He calls us to slow down, make time for Him and find the rest that we are desperate for. The church is a place for respite for the weary. It is not a museum for the saintly.

If doing in this life has led you away from resting in Him who gives life, return to Him who speaks the words of life. Dear friend, how will you ever find rest sleeping on the hardwood of the world’s floors? How will we ever find rest in motion?

I wonder how great the benefit would be for so many busy people and families in our community if their shadows darkened the doors of their local churches, even if only to find rest?

Jesus says simply, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV84)