In Returning and Rest

She was never alone—the questions kept her constant company.

You know those questions that latch onto you and refuse to let go? The ones that, despite their simplicity, bump around in your brain during the early hours or while you’re in the carpool line? 

For the past year, I’ve been haunted by this ponderance: what does it mean to just sit and be loved by God?

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

(Psalm 46:10)

I must admit I experienced a sort of emotional (or spiritual) allergic reaction to the idea at first. It seemed prideful. Then it appeared lazy. Then it started gnawing at my soul… because it felt impossible and absurd. 

Why would God want to just sit with me and love me? I get the whole John 3:16 thing—He loved the world—but one kid? I’d be an irritation. Aren’t there things I could be doing for the King instead of being with Him?

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.

(Zephaniah 3:17)

The concept kept niggling at me (which was probably the Holy Spirit if I’m honest). Something deep was underneath this aversion to being still and being loved. If food is the way to a man’s heart, isn’t activity for the Lord (inwardly frantic but outwardly calm and focused) the way to God’s heart? 

Apparently not.

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

(Isaiah 30:15)

If I can earn God’s affection by doing enough or being enough, the cross meant nothing. Jesus came to win forever the smile of the Father over us, and absolutely nothing can take it away. It’s no longer something I have to gain; it’s something I can’t lose.

This is not a King who facepalms every time we knock on the throne room door, but a delighted Daddy who genuinely enjoys our presence. He’s longing to be known, not impressed.  

And He said to them, “Come with Me privately to a solitary place, and let us rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

(Mark 6:31)

Of course there will be time to work, to produce, to bear the sweaty fruit of endurance in the field. He’s a missional God with big plans. But if we listen hard enough, we can hear His call back to the space of resting in stillness in which the quiet and life-giving fruit of faith blooms abundant.

It’s that old kingdom rhythm of being, doing, being, doing. When the being (quiet, still, surrendered, attentive, authentic, beholding) precedes the doing (fulfilling the good works prepared for us in advance), the doing has soul in it.

The Lord is in His holy temple. All the earth—be quiet in His presence.

(Habakkuk 2:20)

I think it comes down to this: is the God of the universe allowed to decide what He wants? Yes, squeaks my heart. Okay, then, He says He wants me, apart from anything I can contribute. He wants my time and attention and trust. So am I willing to give the God of the universe what He’s decided He wants? Me, in all of my dirt and glory, the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly?

Uncontrollable grace beckons me out of tiptoeing around a perpetually dissatisfied taskmaster and into relationship with a Father so affectionate He could burst.

What does it mean to just sit and be loved by God? I don’t know. But I’m ready to find out.

I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.

(Psalm 62:1)

2 thoughts on “In Returning and Rest

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