In college we used to say, “Study, party, sleep—but you only have time for two of the three.” Win (short for Winston), a biology major, was as sleep-deprived as the rest of us. He said that when he was little, he resisted naps but his mother made him take them. Now, as a student staying up past midnight to count fruit flies for research, and later as an MD/PhD candidate, and later still during medical residency, he wanted naps more than ever but couldn’t have them.
As a five-year-old, Win once escaped his bedroom window during naptime. Somehow, he had matches. His mother (dear woman!) thought he was napping, but actually he was testing matches in the hill behind his house—the La Canada foothills of Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. (Think hot, brown, and dry.) In the end, they had to call the fire department but did avoid an out-of-control wildfire. If only little Win had taken his nap.
When I was a child, I fought naps like a child. Now I am an adult, and I take my rest.
Or do I?
God has told his people,
“Here is a place of rest;
let the weary rest here.
This is a place of quiet rest.”
But they would not listen.
God invites His worn and weary people to rest. He even specifies: “This is a resting place!” He offers, invites, even commands us to His rest and refreshment. Yet how often do I refuse what my weary soul and tired body needs? Like a stubborn toddler refusing nap time in a tantrum, I “would not listen.” Then I continue throughout the day (or days) even crankier than before because, having deprived myself of rest, I am running on low and running out.
Why does the toddler refuse and scorn rest? He doesn’t want to “miss out” on the day or its activities. Am I like this child? In my pride and illusion of self-sufficiency, do I think I don’t need the rest?
Father, forgive me for scorning the rest you provide and invite me into. Teach me to receive Your rest.
(Next week: Where is this place of quiet rest?)