I bought a new tea, Pumpkin Spice. It is an herbal tea that promises to ease tension and promote relaxation. I tried it last night for the first time, while reading in my cozy chair. I was delighted. My new friendship mug with its dainty spoon used to scoop just enough honey to take the edge off the “spice”, invited me to use it. The savory and comforting aroma, escorted me to far-away places. I sat, closed my eyes and escape from the anxiety of the past few days. Even now, while typing, I hear sirens outside my window and my chest tightens. Our little community is going through another painful act of arson that destroyed the dreams of three families while their businesses burned to the ground.
My cozy chair was a gift, a hand me down twice over. My friend received it from a friend and she passed it onto me. When I saw the chair, I knew right where it belonged and I knew I belonged in it. I found my resting place, my cozy place, the place I could cuddle with my snuggly blanket, warm cup of tea and Bible.
As I sit I’m whisked into adventure after adventure after inviting the Lord into my time. He opens my eyes to see and my ears to hear. He sends me messages of love, hope and purpose. He rescues me from myself and reminds me the adventure has only just begun, for the two of us, in my life. He has good things for me, for my future.
Sitting in my cozy chair, Bible open, I glance down at Psalm 123. I’m drawn into the heart of David as he vows to find a dwelling place, a resting place for the Lord. God declares He chooses Zion as His resting place and in that I begin to think about the wealth found in rest. Even in creation God gave us a picture of rest when He created a day all its own for that specific purpose. He invited us into that day with Him, calling it holy.
In this season, I think a lot of us are unknowingly fighting the rest that really matters, the rest God wanted to draw us into during this pandemic. COVID has forced us to slow down. Our lives are different now, we may feel rested because we were forced into shut down, but that was physically. The rest I’m pondering is spiritual rest, emotional rest, heart rest with God. Last week I shared about a temper tantrum I had and I find myself, even now, tempted to resist and buck up against this gift we have been given. I'm confined, not free to do whatever I want and I feel trapped. With violence, arson and anger all around, I feel violated and it's hard to settle my heart.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Laden means, “burdened; loaded down.” Labor is to, “exert one’s powers of body or mind”. So, we can say it this way. Come to Me all you who are emotionally striving, heavily burdened and loaded down and I will give you rest.
Snuggled in my cozy chair I contemplate true rest. I imagine God choosing my heart as His resting place and I wonder if I’m ready. Can my heart be so peaceful and loving that it would invite my heavenly Papa and God of the universe to rest there? Can I be a place of habitation and comfort for Him to sit and rest? I want to be. I want to be the cozy place of warmth that ushers in His presence. As I open my heart through thanksgiving and worship I believe He finds a place to come. As I set my mind on things above and take it off the things of this earth, I believe He can. I believe He will.
I look to the Word, to God’s promises of comfort and I find Ephesians. The joy of my salvation fills my heart as I am reminded that we are a dwelling place and that Jesus is looking forward to dwelling in our hearts as we are built up in faith. 2 Timothy 1:14 says the Holy Spirit dwells in us. He comes to stay and live permanently.
I believe it is safe to say that God has come to rest and dwell in us. It was His plan all along and He gave us the doorway to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. He empowers us and moves through us. He is already here, resting, waiting for us to meet Him in His rest.
Today is Election Day. The day that will hold one of the most, if not the most, historic Presidential elections of all time. Let’s choose to keep our hearts open and allow God to rest through the battle. Let’s choose to partner with God’s rest, with His heart of reconciliation, love, forgiveness, healing, hope, health and safety. Let’s put our opinions aside and let the rest of God rise-up to declare the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. And when we lay down to sleep, let’s rest well to wake up in joy and pray for those who do not have the rest of the Lord, dwelling inside of them. It may be a rough day, night, week or month but we do not have to lose our rest. God is in the rest and He wants to rest with us.
I recommend the Yogi Pumpkin Spice herbal tea. You can get it at your local grocery store. Steep a cup for 7 minutes, and be swept away into relaxation, tension free. With your cup of tea, God will meet you in a beautiful place of comfort and best of all He will whisper to you the comfort and rest your soul needs.
God Bless you, Tea Loving Friends! We are in this together.