“Tomorrow’s bridge is a dangerous thing;
I dare not cross it now.
I can see its timbers sway and sing,
and its arches reel and bow.
O heart, you must hope alway;
You must sing and trust and say:
‘I’ll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow,
But I’ll borrow none today.'”¹
An idealistic little poem, isn’t it? But oh, so hard to practice. It’s easier to wrestle and fuss and sweat than it is to rest. After all, worrying comes naturally. We don’t have to work at worrying.
And if we’re busy worrying about a problem, then we feel like we’re doing something about it, right? But what if God is more interested in quietly drawing us near to Him than giving us the strength to fight longer? What if He is calling for us to take on His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light?
I’m becoming more and more convinced that learning to rest is a discipline. Taking time to rest is not something that comes naturally to busy Americans. But much more than physical rest, I’m talking about resting in the peace that comes only from God. Taking my burdens to the foot of the cross and leaving them there. Asking God for His will to be accomplished, then trusting and believing that He will do it.
It sounds so simple, but it’s difficult to put into practice on a regular basis. Why? Isn’t it enough that His word instructs us not to worry and to have faith? Isn’t it enough that we have seen His faithfulness time and again in our own lives? Isn’t it enough that we know we “shouldn’t” be anxious?
Apparently, for most of us, we need more. We need our minds to be renewed. We need to practice the discipline of rest. We need to die to our flesh that naturally tends to worry and stress and wrestle and fight. How do we do this?
Many wonderful books have been written on this topic over the years, but here’s the short answer. Get to know Him. Spend time in His presence. Be purposeful about bringing your thoughts into captivity. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says
“For although we live in the natural realm, we don’t wage a military campaign employing human weapons, using manipulation to achieve our aims. Instead, our spiritual weapons are energized with divine power to effectively dismantle the defenses behind which people hide.5 We can demolish every deceptive fantasy[e]that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought[f] and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.” (The Passion Translation)²
We cannot afford to let our thought-life run wild. We must bring it into alignment with the Word of God, understanding that it will take vigilance on our part to not slip back into worry and anxiety.
“But solid food is for the mature,who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14, NIV)
When it seems easier to wrestle, we must train ourselves to rest in God’s promises. But doing so is a process. Francois Fenelon said, “We must trust to God for whatever depends upon Him, and only think of being faithful ourselves in the performance of our duties. This continual, unceasing dependence, this state of entire peace and acquiescence of the soul in whatever may happen, is the true, silent martyrdom of self. It is so slow, and gradual, and internal, that they who experience it are hardly conscious of it.”
¹ Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. Streams in the Desert: June 9
²The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.
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