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  • Writer's pictureJenni

Deep Rest: when God's Love rests on us


gravity (2013), IMDb


Rest is not relief. It is not the avoidance of the hard things of life. It is not distracting or distancing ourselves from the lives we find we have.


When I was young, I daydreamed a lot, so much so that the teacher called me The Dreamer, for failing to hear her call my name once too often. Now I know I did that because I wasn’t engaged with what was going on in class.


We may not have formal pockets of time to daydream as busy adults; but often, we are also not fully engaging with what is going on. 


We may not engage because it feels pointless, the other person isn’t really interested. Or it may be that we are just too tired, or feel too powerless. All of these take an emotional toll on us, draining us of joy and vitality.


But the stance of dis-engagement is not restful either. 


The other favourite approach is to take a break, go on vacation, or just chill. This is helpful, for we are not machines and need to have a rhythm of work and rest. But many times, we can feel the wheels still turn, and our hearts long for a rest that is deep, satisfying, and renewing.



 


I don’t watch many movies, but one that impacted me was Gravity. It’s a full length movie almost entirely set in space. Many minutes into the show, I felt a sensation of weightlessness and a slight sense of anxiety coming over me as I witnessed Sandra Bullock float-leap-crawl from space to space. She did not walk or stand or sit as one normally would. I felt palpably better whenever she was inside some capsule. Then the camera would zoom out on the endless expanse of space... which made me long for solid ground. The worst moment happened when her colleague George Clooney cut off the tether in a bid to save the mission, and he floated into infinite space...


I only sat easy when Sandra figured out a way and finally crashed safely back on earth.

I realised that we experience safety and can thrive only when we are held, grounded and bounded. There is no rest otherwise.

It only happens when we feel safe, able to entrust ourselves and allow everything else to pale in the experience.


The prayer book within the Bible, the Psalms, has this: 

GOD, let your faithful love rest on us,

as our hope has rested in you. (33v22)


The first part of the prayer is to let something rest on us. This requires us to be still and wait. The second part describes this stillness happening as we pull out the storms within and render them as hopes which we seek from God.


This is when we can stop clambering, worried and scared to death that we won't make it; and gather all of what we need and long for into a bundle and sit with God. 


Let our hope -- rest in You! 


Then, we shall see that God is waiting for us to be still enough to feel his Love resting upon us. In this dynamic of prayer where we both wait and honestly pour out our hearts, God’s love gentles down and blankets us. 


Yes, things will happen, people will hurt and disappoint, we will make dastardly mistakes… but we are never cut off to float into nothingness. What's more, we can regularly, deliberately, gather our life-bundle and sit with God, learning to be still enough to experience the Holy One loving us.


Wow.

This is Rest, deep and lasting.


{here's one way: Quiet Hour}


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