I curled up beside him and felt his warm, velvety skin against my cheek, marveling at how long his body had stretched in so seemingly short a time.
The room, ink-black with mercury seeping in around the edges, masked his face and mine.
It was so very quiet; so absolutely still.
I held my breath so the perfect sound of slumber would not be somehow tainted by my own breathing or the sound of my own loud-thumping heart. I wanted to see him with my ears. I wanted his presence to be my sole concentration.
With the curve of his nose outlined against light bleeding through the curtains, I saw his small chest rise and fall. I heard air fill his lungs and then be released. I marveled at how peaceful he looked; how perfectly relaxed. And I felt the miracle of that moment grab tightly to my mother-heart.
Oh, how I love that boy.
Why “Resting in God” means surrender
But that perfect, childlike rest is not always so easy to grasp.
If you’ve ever tried to give something up or change your life in a drastic way, perhaps you already know about surrender. Maybe, if you’re like me, you’ve attempted this giving up — this changing-of-the-ways — but it becomes a bit of a bargaining game. It becomes a series of justifications and rule-bending and excuse-making.
“Oohh. I really shouldn’t eat another one of those, but Hey! It’s a birthday party! So just one more…”
“Eek. I know I have to be more intentional at home, but I just have to take this one phone call.”
It can be so hard to trust God in the surrendering, especially when the problems in your life make a lousy piece of cake seem like pitiful illustration of any kind of trial. It can be so hard to trust God when obeying the quiet leading you feel in your spirit means choosing the more difficult path. We want to push back, hold Him at arm’s length, list off all the cons and ignore all the pros.
However, my sleeping boy showed me that truly resting means total surrender. It means no bargaining. No puppeteering. No justifying. Just as he would not have had a refreshing night’s sleep if he had lay in bed playing with Legos and asking for umpteen glasses of water, we cannot expect true rest if we insist on having our own way or seeking solely after our own desires.
True rest demands surrender.
Why “Resting in God” means peace
I also learned that when we’re truly resting in God…truly suspended in His mighty hand, the peace we’ll receive will allow us to close our eyes and not fear the darkness. Likewise, it will allow us to close our eyes and not fear the morning.
It will allow us to breathe more deeply, even when we don’t understand the plan.
Even when the world doesn’t make sense.
Even when everything seems to be crumbling and falling through our fingers.
Even then, Jesus promises peace.
When the world says, “There’s no rest for the weary,” it’s lying. Jesus promises rest to all who come to him. He promises to share the burden and give us a lighter yoke. He offers peace as a free gift to anyone who will receive it
“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT
This kind of peace will will allow us to lie back in full confidence that our weight will be supported.
It will allow us to rest with arms outstretched, and say like never before, “Here I am, Lord. Use me.”
What has God been teaching you about rest and surrender?
[photo credit…not my baby!]