Psalm 37:7a AMP Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him
David knew how to rest as evidenced by his word choice in Psalm 37. The word rest in these verses from Psalm 37 is an active verb. An active verb meaning that the descriptors of deliberate, defining, and with destination are implicit in the Hebrew word for rest used in this chapter. This kind of rest infers that there are no wasted time or talents, no squandered opportunities or occasions, and no thrown-away choices or conditions. An active rest requires me to actively choose a taking-hard-ahold-of the obedience to stay here and see what my Good God has planned with the purpose of a future and a hope (see Jeremiah 29:11).
To choose rest is to stop, see, and savor the surety of a hope set on the sufficiency of God.
(Yup, I need a re-read and re-read again on that sentence too.)
Active rest goes against my grain, down to the smallest particle of the soil of my soul. Yet active rest is what restores my soul according to David in Psalm 23:3 ESV. And if you’re anything like me, your soul doesn’t just need repair, it needs restoration. So, while we’re here in Psalm 23, let’s stop and consider what comes immediately before that statement from verse 3 – He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters (v. 2-3 ESV). God didn’t solicit suggestions or ask advice. He did what was best for David then. And He will do the same for you and for me today.
Logically, the first and only thing in suffering is to “just keep swimming” as to try and escape those waves of pain, grief, and loss. If I rest, I might drown. Yet that’s not what David knew in Psalm 23, nor is that what the rest of Scripture tells me either. To receive rest now is to choose His Face and His future and all the hope implicit in the not-yet which can seem absent in the now (see Colossians 1:27). I bet Elijah would say something similar in reference to when he was exhausted and fearful after having fled to the wilderness to escape Jezebel’s wrath. God sent an angel to care for Elijah with a meal and a nap and lather, rinse, and repeat. Then, Elijah was restored to a proper perspective of trusting Almighty God to do what He said He would do in protecting Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:1-8).
Our Good God provided for Elijah. He will do it for us.
With that in mind, now might just be a very good time for a snack and then a nap…
This post was another excerpt from the Nevertheless: Finding hope in suffering project. Stay tuned here to the blog for information about what’s coming with the project.
If you aren’t already signed up to follow the blog with your email, please click on the link below to do this – thanks!
written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2023.