Finding rest

Sunset over a lake
Have we no time to stand and stare?

“This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Jeremiah 6:16)

So wrote the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah circa 600 BCE. Today’s busy, 21st Century lifestyle precludes time to rest. Instead Western society panders to our materialistic desires, leaving us unsatisfied and spiritually thirsty. In Jeremiah’s time there was a spiritual aspect to life that, on the whole, we have lost. Yet even then the Creator needed to speak through Jeremiah to point people to the source of true and perfect rest. Consider for a moment the words of this well-loved poem by Wm. Henry Davies (1871-1940):

LEISURE

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if,  full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

By not slowing down, we lose so much. Almost three thousand years ago, King Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) It is when we take time to rest that we can most fully appreciate our spiritual side.

Look again at Jeremiah’s words; it is only by following what is good, being unfettered by conscience or anxiety, that we find true rest. It was Jesus who said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11 v28-30)

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