A close friend of mine laid his head on his pillow one night and pulled up the sheet. It was all so cozy in contrast to the January air a wall away. He had no idea that his peace would soon bow to a state of complete inner panic.
His eyes opened to what would normally be the projected time on the ceiling. But instead, they were glued to what looked like a black, heavy cinder block, hanging four feet above his head. He somehow knew it was tied to a hidden rope or trigger. If he moved, it would fall and strike him like lightning. But it could also fall at any moment. And so, he laid there. Motionless.
The next morning, there was no evidence of this contraption anywhere. This happened the next night as well with even greater intensity. Over an hour of fear held him captive, keeping him from entering his sweet spot of rest. It all seemed so rational and real. Thinking he could trick the trigger, he finally made the lighting-fast dash to the bathroom - and survived. Later, he walked back in the room and looked to find the image of passing time, once again.
Then night #3 came. He had had it with this nonsense. Confused and sleep-deprived, he asked for prayer. What he got was revelation. This night, he suddenly and literally woke up to - not a dream - but a vision.
This night would break the pattern. He awoke to see two iPhones, side by side, both screens filled with scripture! The doom was actually still looming there, behind the Word, but that death block was blocked. Its power, eclipsed.
As long as he laid there reading it, believing it, immersing himself in it, peace washed over him. As he remained focused on God’s Word, he did not fall into the trap of watching time pass him by and letting worries of the future hitch a ride. Nor did he fall victim to the threat of harm and its paralyzing fear. He simply fell back to sleep. It was a deep, drooly sleep too, and he needed it for a meeting with some local pastors the following day.
Those first two nights plagued him with night terrors, direct from his enemy. They brought a vague fear, unrest, and confusion, true to his character. But that third night, my friend experienced a vision, and it brought him peace, rest and clarity. That one was obviously from Jesus, the Word.
As I recalled his story, God reminded me of a passage in Hebrews 4. I sunk in deep and noticed some fascinating things about this rest just waiting for us:
1) It is Ready.
"He’s waiting to give it to us. Like a decadent meal, prepared with care. It is our inheritance as His sons and daughters." Heb.4:3 This rest has been ready since he made the world.”
2) It is For Today.
He wants us to have it today. Right now! “So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today.” Heb 4:7
3) It is Special.
His rest is different than the world’s. It refreshes, refuels, and restores. It is worth seeking. He led by example, so that we would not fall into disobedience. “...So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God” Heb 4:8-11
4) It is a Person.
He gave you Jesus - the One found throughout the ancient text of the Torah, the Prophets, the Gospels and Epistles. These pages call out to your eyes and spirit, “Believe!” When you read them, when you believe Him, I promise you, rest is yours for the claiming. “So then, since we have... Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe...” Heb 4:14-16
Are you wearied as you read this? Do you worry way too much? Well, I have good news. Time can pass with joyful expectancy, fear of harm can become laughable, and the weight you carry can be light, because Jesus Christ has come.
And He IS your Rest.
- Chelan Russ