Finally, you get a quiet moment. Your soul beats restlessly inside your chest. You want to still your mind and turn your heart towards God, but your disappointments stand in the way. They try to convince you that you’ll never reach true peace.
When stillness surrounds you, what does your mind dwell upon?
My mind immediately thinks of ways I’ve failed, areas of my life I need to improve, and all of the words I wish I could reel back.
There’s a reason God does not allow us to go back in time, this reminds us that we are not in control and must choose to rest in His presence when all else fails. He invites us to rest. Not simply resting from the busyness of life, but God provides us with soul-reviving, peace-consuming rest. Yet, we still choose to strive after cleaning up after our mistakes. We regret, toil to not repeat the same errors, and create anxiety deep within our very core.
Instead of allowing us to correct all of our past failures, God uses our shortcomings to show us how completely shattered we are and how we are in dire need to be taken care of by a perfect Savior. With this perspective, we see his Sovereignty rather than the places we have fallen short. Our focus shifts from ourselves and unto His glory. He leaves us awestruck as we ponder His life on earth, taking on mankind’s sins by entering the world with weak, human flesh. And in that flesh, he never once lose sight of God’s will.
He had one purpose. In His moments of quiet, he talked to His Father. He thanked His father. He prayed that His Father would guide him and give Him discernment. He turned his face heavenward
But we choose to turn inward, and we believe the gaping, empty places in our heart can be filled by productivity, goals, tasks, and simply doing more. We want to fabricate peace with Jesus as we quickly scan through His word, throw out a prayer or two, listen to Christian podcasts, read spiritual books, and attend every bible study we can. We want to meet with God for the feeling of peace; to us that is the end result.
We don’t truly desire our end result to be time spent in the presence of a Holy, all powerful, all knowing, merciful King. Once that becomes the purpose, His peace will come alongside us and carry the weight of our guilt.
He reminds us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). God in His mercy gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit so we could find rest in truly turning to Him. His power resides in us and if we entrust our souls to His care, fully receive His grace, and allow His presence to wash over us—we can experience life-altering peace.
In the presence of the Lord, do we strive and toil to manufacture peace, or do we yearn to know him more intimately? Reflect back on the story of Mary and Martha. Martha spent all her time tidying, straightening, and carrying her burdens rather than laying them at Jesus’ feet. And what was His response?
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
We may know God, but to deeply know God means that we believe in Him, we offer our souls to Him, we depend on Him for our every need, and desire to be wrapped up in His presence. God sees the way our sins weigh us down, and when we are profoundly distressed over these sins, He offers to ease our burdens. To find everlasting peace means to relinquish our toil and to find rest in God alone.