Obviously this is a picture of feet. These are my husband’s feet and my feet as we stretched out on a couple of chaise lounge chairs looking out to the Aegean Sea in Greece. I remember it was a very hot day, but the water was an extraordinary color of blue. There was an umbrella of palm leaves over us to keep us cool and a waiter periodically came by to refresh our drinks. It seemed decadent to me, but wonderfully restful.
I have often thought that rest is a good gift from God. When I do wake from a good night’s sleep I feel like I can tackle the world. If I toss or turn, I struggle to stay with it during the day. I once heard a psychologist say that anyone who goes without sleep for 72 hours will start seeing things that are not real! Rest is as essential as food and water.
The biblical writers knew rest was a blessing from God. Resting on the Sabbath was established to give the slaves of Egypt a “day off,” a concept with which they were likely to be unfamiliar. Clearly Sabbath rest was also intended to remind us that everything is not dependent on us. God needs to build our lives and be at the center of our world. Here’s how the psalmist puts it in Psalm 127: 1-2.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.
May you rest easy this evening and find the peace of God’s presence the whole long night through.
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