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The Gift of Rest

You just need one night of not being able to sleep in order to appreciate the gift of physical rest. From the beginning God created day and night. It would be five more days before He would create man and woman. Everything in creation was designed with the pleasure of man and woman in mind. The nights were created for a chance to slow down and rest. God Himself rested on the seventh day. A healthy lifestyle depends on rest. 

If one or two nights without the ability to rest can cause our brains and bodies so much distress imagine an eternity with the absence of rest. I think many of us do not even consider rest as important until we miss it one night. It is a gift to be able to sleep well. It gives us a break from the hard realities of the world.

Imagine what it might be like to never have rest. It would mean that you never got a break from how hard  life can be. Revelation 14:11 points out the absence of rest for those who risk  the eternal punishment of hell by rejecting Christ’s offer of salvation while living here on earth. “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” In comparison to the earlier verses that talk about God’s anger and torment, the absence of rest did not catch my attention.

Revelation 14:9-10 states: “And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,  he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  The fierceness of God’s anger and the torment of fire and smoke are what most of us think of when we believe that God’s eternal justice will result in hell—a hell that is worse than the horrific ways we have already witnessed man’s inhumanity toward man. 

It is very comforting to me to realize that in God’s true justice, I do not have to witness the torment of other human beings. I don’t think I could handle it. Their torment is worse because they are in the presence of Holy angels and the Lamb of God. One detail of the torment of hell that I can imagine is not having rest for eternity. It makes me realize how vital rest is to the goodness of life. 

I’ve been enjoying the rest that God has given me more and more since reading this verse. It helps me realize what a blessing it is to have a break from the world and all the pressures of living. A good night’s sleep can create the space needed to look on hard things with new hope.

Open your heart, mind and spirit to the goodness of God’s gift of rest. Enter into the godliness of resting. Be blessed that following God will bring you to true rest.

Dr. Deborah Newman

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