The Space for Rest

We rested on Labor Day,

and we did it on the relatively narrow space of a bike path along Chicago’s lake shore.

The path was well populated by runners, bikers, walkers, and roller-bladers.

  Boaters, swimmers, and jet-skiers made the nearby water their playground.

Sunbathers, sand-castle-makers and volleyball players rested on the beach.

Sightseers and city lovers walked the streets, dined in restaurants and enjoyed Chicago’s attractions.

As we pedaled on the path we observed miles and miles of people resting from their labors in the space between God’s creation and man’s work.

To the east was Lake Michigan, God’s creative study in brilliant blues punctuated only by white sails on the horizon.

West of the path stood the impressive city of Chicago, created by men and women using a more neutral palette of steel, bricks and concrete.

In between God’s handiwork and man’s efforts, like the bike path between the lake and the city, is a space for rest.

God has done for us all that we cannot do for ourselves.  He created the world, the natural beauty that we enjoy and the raw materials with which we cultivate everything we need for life on this planet. Human beings did not create Lake Michigan; we simply enjoy it and use it as a resource.

Similarly, God has given us everything we need for life beyond this world by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  We cannot save ourselves anymore than we can create Lake Michigan.  We simply accept his gift and enjoy Him.

Our best work begins from a space of rest in God’s finished work.

“Adam…was created on the sixth day.  Clearly, then, he had no part in those first six days of work, for he came into being only at their end.  Whereas God worked six days and then enjoyed his sabbath rest, Adam began his life with the Sabbath; for God works before he rests, while man must first enter into God’s rest, and then alone can he work.”   Watchman Nee in Sit, Walk, Stand

What do you do to rest from your labors? 

Have you experienced God’s rest? 

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”  Psalm 62:5

16 thoughts on “The Space for Rest

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  1. Rest is often elusive. While many rested on Labor Day, I worked. While most call Sunday a day of rest, recalling how God rested on the seventh day and that we should keep the Sabbath, I labor. For congregational pastors, Sundays in general and the worship service specifically, are times to be “on.” And then, the “regular” work week begins and we are expected to be “accessible” to all who need us. Yes, rest is elusive.

  2. I’m so glad you had a “rest” day, Judy! I know you’re a hard worker, as I always enjoy your posts–and that’s just a part of your busy life. Your photos and descriptions here make we want to visit Chicago–I thought it had a bad rep, but gosh, there are plenty of pretty things to see! I’ve definitely experienced God’s rest, usually daily–at least for a few minutes. And after a “hard day/week of writing”, I watch a good movie–and on the weekends, I watch my boys (pro bull riders!). Though, I admit it’s not really “restful”, watching them try to stay safe on 1700 lb bulls–but it is “distracting”, so that works! God bless you abundantly–much love, sis Caddo

    1. Bull riders! That’s something we don’t see much around here:). And if you ever decide to visit Chicago, you will let me know, right? Bless you back, Caddo!

      1. Come to think of it, Judy, I don’t think the PBR has toured in Chicago, or anywhere in IL, since I began watching in 2006–too bad I don’t have any pull, as an honorary “mama”! Guess you’ll just have to enjoy them vicariously, when I do upcoming posts–Finals are in late Oct, in Las Vegas–I’m both excited and stressing!

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