Have you ever watched a toddler who’s about to fall asleep even though he’s resistant? It goes something like this: The child reluctantly sits on his daddy’s lap squirming. He is bounced gently on his dad’s knee but he wrestles and pushes his body away as the dad continues to hold him. He squirms and bucks the whole time. He even tries to climb down a few times to play but he becomes fussier. It is so obvious, to the observer, that he’s so tired and needs to sleep. As the child prevents the rest that is so desperately needed, I watch and think, Come on now little guy, just go to sleep!
He keeps his eyes open blinking yet the rate slows. Finally this little one complies and becomes still. Eventually, his eyelids become heavy, as if the Sandman massaged tiny grains of sand between his index finger and thumb and sprinkled them precisely over each of the child’s tear ducts, eyelids and lashes until he succumbed to the weight of his heavy eyelids and eventually closed them.
His tiny body yields and becomes limp and heavy with sleep. His arms dangle freely but his neck bends at an awkward angle. As his rate of breathing slows and becomes rhythmic, his small chest rises and falls while his father gently straightens his little neck and head. He perspires causing his hair to clump in damp chunky strands. His father looks down and strokes his sweaty hair back off his forehead and lightly kisses it. Again I think, yeah, there you go little guy! That’s what you needed. Just rest. Why were you so resistant? As is typical, after his rest he’s completely recharged, raring and ready to go again.
I think I’m like that sometimes. Are you? As God calls me to rest in Him, He says, “Cease striving. Come to me and rest.” Yes, I can be resistant to the very thing I need. But I am learning!
My learning has included quiet times of solitude or early mornings spent with God as He speaks. I write down what I hear him say to me. This particular entry in my “listening journal” reminds me of that resistant child who was fighting the very thing he needed, sleep and rest:
The Lord says, “My love… I am right here as close as the air you breathe. I am here drawing near. I am strong, you don’t have to be. I’d like to show you my strength through your weakness. Come to me sweet one. Come here dear child. Breathe. Let me calm you with my love. My unfailing love. My loyal, steadfast, faithful love, be BLESSED!
I am in control– you needn’t worry. I can do more in one move of my almighty hand than all your planning or dreaming ever could. Don’t resist me–or my love for you–lean into me. Come close, so I can kiss your head. I adore you! I delight in you. I care for you, I am here! You needn’t fear. Cease striving–breathe. Breathe deeply. Again, breathe! Rest.
Do we need to:
It is so wonderful that the God of the universe invites us to cease striving, sleep and rest:
Psalm 46:10,11 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Psalm 4:8 In peace (not in pieces) I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone,O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. NIV
Just like the resistant toddler after we rest in Him we will be raring and ready to go!
* I added the bold type and parenthetical