I was utterly exhausted. Months of caring for my dying mom had taken its toll. And after she passed, there were so many arrangements and details to take care of. Once the funeral was past, I sunk onto my sofa and realized how urgently I needed to rest.
When I told my husband that I was feeling close to burnout, he encouraged me to take a theology course taught by a professor named Don Carson. He knew from personal experience that this teacher drew people into God’s presence worshipfully and reverently in every course he offered. At first I was skeptical. Add one more thing to my over-taxed brain? But, I packed my bags, physical and emotional, and went. Having worshipped God through three days of study, I came out feeling rested not only in body, but also in spirit.
In Exodus 20:8-11, God gives a commandment which frees his people from their everyday tasks one day a week so that they might rest in Him. But we also see Him inviting people into longer periods of rest when they are exhausted, as he does for Elijah in 1 Kings 19:1-18.
At the end of his rope, Elijah, like me, needed a reprieve. God took care of him and prepared him for the next task. God has created within us a need for Sabbath rests that draw us into His presence. Whenever I spend extended periods worshipping, praising, and contemplating God, I discover that resting in God is the greatest of pleasures!
Father, thank you for inviting me to find rest and renewal in your presence. Thank you for the deep, deep pleasure I find in spending extended periods of time with you. Remind me to turn to you when I am weary in body, soul, and spirit. Amen.
Go Deeper ― Plan to spend several hours with God in contemplative Bible study, worship, and prayer during your next day of rest.
Further Reading: Read Debbie West's story: Burnout: Too Much of a Good Thing.
Photo Credit: Mi Pham