The “rest” of the story

The frozen wasteland of the garden is punctuated heavily by the sorry stems of dead flowers, offering up the remaining seed pods to the hungry birds. It is decidedly NOT a pretty scene, however much our feathered friends approve of it. 

Oh, there are a few bits of color already in the muddy back area; the early hellebores are blooming and showing their bright red color. Only I haven’t been able to enjoy them; I have been resting and recuperating since November, just as my garden has. 

Beneath those forlorn brown stems and crispy, dead foliage are the roots of all sorts of perennial flowers, resting and waiting for the sun’s warmth to return. In fact, many of them need that rest, or they would wear themselves out! 

Mothers and wives are, by design and by necessity, Type A people who are constantly on the go. One of my (then teenaged) children was overheard to remark something very surprising to his sibling. They were seemingly conspiring to ask for a favor of me, and one suggested they talk to me when I was sitting down and relaxing, “But when does Mom ever sit down??”

I would say this revelation made me sit up and take notice, but I wasn’t sitting down at the time … not surprisingly. But I did take notice! From that point onward, I took some effort to find time to relax. Funny … but even that took “effort” by my own words and admission. 

A few days ago, yet another dear friend tested positive for Covid-19. Admonishing her to rest and sleep as much as she could, I threatened to come over and “take her batteries out” because I know how energetic she is, and how she never stops working for her family and for the church. This illness has forced me to rest, and I wanted her to rest early before it got so bad that she met the same fate. She reminds me of the Energizer bunny!

All kidding aside, rest is important. Not just when we are sick, but always. We as heirs of the New Covenant don’t demand rest on the Sabbath anymore, but think of it … God instituted it in the Old Covenant for a reason. 

Jesus put it into perspective for the legalists of His day. “And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27, NKJV). 

If a day of rest was made for our sakes, then why do we feel guilty about resting? Should we rather not consider it a way of honoring our Creator? While it doesn’t have to be on Saturday or Sunday, we should find time to rest and recoup.

Even the fields of the Jewish nation were given a rest. It was commanded that they allow their valuable resource — the very ground they were given and which sustained them — to go without planting and producing every seventh year (Exodus 23:11).

As my garden sleeps for the winter,  I am reminded to rest, too.

When faced with a serious illness, our only work is to get well, and part of that is resting. It may be that a little rest in our work week may well prevent a longer rest of recuperation. 

Well, I’m off to take a nap. God bless your rest!

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