Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
It seems that one of the definitions of our times is restlessness. I heard the other day that most adults now days have the attention span of one second less than a goldfish. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that! That statement hit me right between the eyes!
Many people are hurrying here and scurrying there and when they arrive, they immediately have to leave for somewhere else. Sound familiar? I’ve often had the discussion with friends about why most of us are so forgetful now days…even young people. And the inescapable conclusion is always that we have too much stress in our lives…too many things on our mind or…as the old country saying goes, “Too many irons in the fire!
I find that most of the time I can’t just sit quietly and do nothing. I have to be doing something to occupy my mind, as if it wasn’t cluttered enough! I’ve been asking the Lord to help me to break this pattern of being so uptight about everything. And I find that most of the stress I have is self-imposed. For example, that car in front of me isn’t going to go any faster no matter how frustrated I get! Then I get to work and someone has parked in two spaces, so I have to find a parking place much farther up causing me to be late for work (once again)! The needle on the stress-o-meter is rising! When I get to work, I sit down and reach for my favorite pen. Someone has walked off with it. Why can’t people just leave my stuff alone! I just started my day and my stress meter is already at the half-way point! I’m exaggerating somewhat, but you get the point. You may be thinking, “That is such trivial stuff. Why would anyone get bent out of shape by those things?” Because we get into a pattern of restlessness and it causes every little thing to be blown out of proportion.
I’ll tell you what really started me thinking about all of this. I was headed home one day after work, a few years ago. I was tired and didn’t particularly feel good, so I was intent on getting home as quickly as possible. I was breezing through the north part of the city trying to make the traffic lights. I went through the first one on caution. Okay, I’m safe there. If these people would just get out of my way! Then I went through the other one on caution, too, but it must have changed to red before I got through because in a few moments I saw blue lights flashing behind me. Oh, dear…you know that feeling…somewhere between panic and hysteria! The officer who stopped me was very nice, but at the same time very firm. In spite of all my pleading, I ended up with a ticket for running a red light. That incident started me doing some serious introspection. I realized that I needed God’s help to break this pattern of anxiety (lack of rest) in my life. It was an expensive lesson, but one that I have not yet forgotten.
Stress does not just wreak havoc on our circumstances, but on our physical and spiritual well-being as well. In our society today, it takes some real effort to maintain peace. But if we keep our eyes on the Peacemaker, it is not impossible. And the benefits of living in rest far outweigh the effort necessary to obtain it.
Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you.
Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
John 14:27 (AMP)