Call to and Clarity for Sabbath Rest

It has been slightly more than 4 weeks since we returned from our PSPC 2016 church camp bearing the theme of “An unhurried life in a crazy busy world” with Rev Jimmy Tan at the idyllic Desaru. We were wonderfully led by Rev Tan into a time of slowing down, spending parts of the day to appreciate His creation around us at the resort (sea, sand, sunrise), and listening to one another’s lives either over small group spiritual exercises, corporate prayers or during mealtimes. As I ponder over the lessons learnt after returning to Singapore and hitting the daily grind, I have found myself re-reading Hebrews 4: 9-16 (one of the passages covered) with greater fervour to heed God’s prescription and promise for our rested-ness in Him by being rooted in Him.

 

God’s prescription comes in three aspects. First, we are to make every effort to enter the rest that God has provided (v11). It is a reflection of the goodness of God that as we are saved by grace, through faith, in Christ, we are also given the privilege to participate and co-operate in the journey of being rested in Him.  We are called to be obedient to the cycle of work and rest that God has given us lest we lose sight of the purpose of our labour and end up in a rut of rat race with no end in sight. Second, we are to make every effort to read His Word which is living and active (v12). The juxtaposition of the nature of the word of God following the call to rest in Him is significant here. Personally, I may tend to seek rested-ness in my own ways and with my own resources. However the reminder and encouragement is that we can find the living and active word speaking to our circumstances and illuminating our own deliberations and underlying motivations, and in the process granting us greater clarity in our pursuits and contemplations. Such is the power of the word of God that we can trust and turn to regardless of whatever circumstances we are facing. Third, we are to make every effort to hold firmly to our faith in Christ (v14). Indeed, we have Christ who has faced human temptations; He knows our inadequacies and our doubts even about our own abilities and we can cling to Him. Recently, my family has been busy arranging for the medical care for my Dad who is ill with lung cancer. In the midst of a myriad of activities, the passage has reminded me to find rest in Him by digging into His Word daily.

 

God’s promise for our rested-ness can be seen in three areas. First, we may not stray from Him (v11b). Second, it can help us to discern our thoughts and affections (v12b). Third we can have the confidence of His mercy and grace in times of need (v16). Indeed, our anchor in Him through our daily communion with Him and allowing Him to search and clarify our thoughts and attitudes can give us much rest in this harried world that we live in. During one of the spiritual exercises in the recent church camp, in a moment of inspiration, I penned a poem which helped me to put on paper His reminder for me to turn and return constantly to our Saviour for deep, inner rest amidst the ebb and flow of sometimes turbulent waves in our lives. I hope that it will speak to us amidst the hustle and bustle of the fast paced world that we live in.

 

Clarity in a Crazy Busy world

Busy here, busy there, life's in a hurry

Forms to be filled, deadlines coming, schedule in a flurry

Occupied minds, anxious hearts, heavy limbs are you weary?

Someone to speak to, something to share, some moments can you tarry?

 

Whatever in the past, whatever is to come, even if that's our fare

We may feel inadequate, we may feel less than competent, it's no scare

Cos we have a God who reigns, a God who roars, to whom our hearts can bare

If we come to Him daily, in reading and in prayer, that is our soul care

 

Take stock of our lives, take note of our limits, especially time stealers with animosity

Come to Him with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength, our God of glorious majesty

Cling to Him day and night, the Saviour of our souls who grants us tenacity

Who is above all circumstances, above all challenges, my God of comfort who gives us uncluttered clarity

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