Posted on Monday, May 11, 2020 by Hope Darst
DAY TWO || IN THE MIDDLE
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. - Mark 4:36-37 (NIV)
After a long day of teaching the parables, Jesus gets in the boat and immediately falls asleep. He rests. He was literally exhausted from ministering. He knows that when they reach the other side there will be more things to do, more lives to change, more people to heal. He knows He needs to rest and retreat with the Father to continue the journey. So, in the middle of the sea, Jesus took a nap.
We tend to live our lives at a fast pace. Going, going, going. Have you ever been doing so much, even really good things, that you don’t feel like you have a moment to catch your breath? Has life been coming at you so hard and fast that it’s taking every waking moment to keep up? Either way, it’s really hard to rest in the middle of everything.
Rest is vital for the journey. When we don’t rest, we deplete what we have. When we don’t rest, our weaknesses can grow unknowingly and create places in our heart and mind where doubt and disappointment can live. When we do rest, we give space to God to heal and restore the places where we have grown tired and weak. When we make time with God a priority, we refuel with the right energy - allowing God’s word to strengthen us spiritually. We also allow our physical bodies time to recover and gain strength. If we don’t rest, we eventually run out of fuel, crashing ourselves and others along the way.
Did you notice that Jesus rested and the disciples did not? Did you notice that only the disciples freaked out when the storm came and Jesus did not? Exhaustion can create an unguarded heart, a loose tongue and a weak spirit. Rest guards your heart from doubt and lack of faith. Retreating into God’s presence restores your joy and strength. Jesus knew this - it’s why He took a nap and could wake up in the middle of a storm full of peace and authority.
Are you willing to stop in the middle of your life right now, to pause for a moment, and allow yourself time to recalibrate and restore your strength in the presence of God?
Your response in the middle of everything can be the difference between panic and peace. Rest doesn’t mean sleeping all day and watching Netflix until 2 am or shutting your life down for weeks on end. Rest means to pause in the middle of everything - to spend time with God and His word. Maybe it’s setting aside time to worship and pray in the middle of your day. Maybe it’s taking one day of rest in the middle of your week. Maybe it’s shutting work or your phone off at a specific time each day. Maybe it’s going to bed before responding to emails or texts. I don’t know what rest in the middle looks like for you, but I know it’s important to ensure that you are ready to face anything ahead with a heart and mind full of the Peace of God!
God, it’s so hard to stop and rest in the middle of my life. Forgive me for not taking time to rest and restore myself in your presence. Your presence is my lifeline, my oasis, it sustains me with long life. I choose to pause and rest with you. Let your word refuel my heart with faith and strength for the journey ahead. Amen.
Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV)
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.