When I think of Sundays, there are a lot of things that come to mind. I think about church, family, sports, eating and taking naps. In fact, one my favorite things about a Sunday afternoon is the opportunity for a quality nap. Why else would God have blessed us with Sunday afternoon sports on TV such as golf? Golf creates one of the best, what I like to call, Napmospheres. A Napmosphere is when the environment around someone creates a perfect storm of elements to help one rest easily. A cloudy day that darkens up the room, a fireplace in the winter or the air-conditioning in the summer, a loyal pet and a cozy blanket on a big couch, the tactfully quiet commentators during a golf tournament on TV, and knowing that your tasks are completed for the rest of the day. These are some conditions of a great Napmosphere. God intends for us to find rest. Specifically, find rest in Him.
Life and ministry require rest. Specifically, they require rest in the Lord. Jesus, the greatest example setter of all time, took naps! Amen! He understood the importance of resting with the knowledge and faith that God is in control. He understood that there were more trials and tasks around the corner and the necessity of a quality recharge. One nap He took was before He went to heal a man possessed by many demons…
Luke 8:22-25 (NIV)
Jesus Calms the Storm
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
(You ever been woken up from a nap before?)
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
(Who is this? This is MY savior!)
One of my personal favorite Biblical naps is Elijah under the Broom Tree. Immediately after Elijah, through his faith and reliance on God, defeats the profits of Baal, he is tired, discouraged and wants to die (1 Kings 18-19). God knew the journey was too much for him and provided food and a couple of naps to help him recharge. Not just physically, but mentally.
But how can I find this rest when I am so anxious and stressed over certain responsibilities and frustrations in my life? On my way home a few nights back, I was stressfully praying to God about a reoccurring frustration in my life. I was fervently asking how do I really cast my anxieties on Him like His Word tells me in 1 Peter 5:7? How do I actually leave this in His lap, trusting He is handling it, and not walk inside my house after saying amen and take this burden back with me? I sat in my truck, took a deep breath and finished my prayer. Remembering all the miracles He has already done in my life and showing adoration was how I said amen. Then I went inside and sat on my couch. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of a passage in Philippians 4:6-7. 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Guess what happened? A peace actually came over me… A peace I didn’t honestly expect to have (not this soon anyway)… This peace, this soon, didn’t make sense… This was God’s tangible peace guarding my heart and mind. I needed rest. In the morning life, work, school, ministry, family and a plethora of prayer requests were still going to be there. God knows we need the rest.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34).
Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
We are not meant to carry any of life’s loads on our own. Pray for the peace and knowledge of our Father being in FULL control. I encourage you on Sunday to take a deep breath and stretch out on the couch or your chair. Look at your purring cat, or sofa-hogging dog, and see how they are resting securely under the knowledge of you being in control of their life. This is how we should rest in the lap of God under the security of His sovereignty. Cast your cares upon Him and snuggle up in the Napmoshere of the almighty God.
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”