Hebrews 4:11 (AMP)
10 For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.
11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].
My heart is seeking the Lord’s rest. What I am finding is, I need His definition of rest. This scripture points me to this: REST IS A RESULT OF LABOR.
Let me just say, my mind immediately goes to childbirth. I have had the privilege of labor four times. All four times it was stink’in hard! In fact each time I faced it, I promised myself I would never do it again. Did I mention I have the rare privilege of natural child-birth? So, I have experienced labor in its fullest glory! Amazing, and yet not something I would immediately associate with rest. My labors did not feel restful in any way. I will tell you what they felt like: PAIN! WORK! PAIN! Laboring is the hardest, most painful work I have ever done in my life.
So how is rest, a state of being I imagine as being calm and serene, reconciled with my screamed filled labors?
First, labor is an all involved process. Every part of my body was involved in that process, whether I wanted it to be or not. The same is true for us as we are learning to trust God. We must allow all that we are to labor in that process. Our meditations, our feelings, our words, thought and spoken, all need to be involved in entering into His rest.
Second, labor is a process filled with contractions that are specific and goal oriented. Laboring to enter the rest of God is a process too. It is filled with “contractions” of unbelief and doubt. These feelings of unbelief and doubt rise up and make us quite uncomfortable, even agitated. If we use our faith muscles to process these pains then we have a goal oriented process of birthing the Promise of God in our lives. If we don’t use our faith muscles, then we have what is known as false labor. Labor that produces nothing.
Thirdly, labor requires cooperation. My first two labors, I fought it. I held my breath when I should have breathed. I allowed the pain to dominate my thoughts, so my body could not relax and cooperate with the process. I hindered my labor. I find that this also happens when I am in trial. The pain of the trial is so great, that it overwhelms me. I forget to order my thinking according to His Word. When the contractions of unbelief and doubt rise up, I complain and murmur, instead of speaking His word in faith. By my third labor I learned. In fact, I regulated my breathing and thoughts and I actually slept through most of the labor. My body labored much more quickly when I was at rest. This is true of our trials. When we cooperate with God in the process, His rest ushers us into His promises.
Lastly, Labor is what causes birth. Our trials are meant to birth the power of God in our lives. They are meant to expand our beings and allow more of God in our lives.
What I have learned, is that the place I always want to be is at rest in Him. My part to reach this place requires labor. That labor looks like this: setting my whole being, my mind, my soul, my body, my mouth, my eyes and my ears to what God says about me and the trial. This is a constant process that requires my attention and diligence. Did you hear the words: EFFORT! EFFORT! EFFORT! implied in that statement? Truly, that is what it takes. Women in active labor focus on one thing, the birth. That is what we need as we are seeking the Lord for His rest about our trial. Focus! Every time a pang of unbelief rises up to question us, “What if?” or “did you really hear God?” We focus our hearts and minds on His Word, with full expectation of the birth of His promise in our situation. Then we will know and experience His rest for ourselves.