There are times that a body gets so weary and needs rest so much that you crave it as you would for water in a dry desert. There were a few times I felt that way when my dad was so very sick and my sister would come in to visit with them and her words to me were always music to my ears, “Just sit down and rest while I am here”. There were times that I would actually go get under the covers on my bed and fall sound asleep for about 30 minutes and when I awoke I would feel brand new, well nearly.
There should be a time every day that you take time not only to rest your weary body but also to find a place of quiet rest for your soul. In thinking about that I remembered one of my dad’s favorite much-loved hymns, Near to the Heart of God. I mentioned in a post recently that there was a work for you one that only you could accomplish and I think that was true for Cleland B. McAfee who is known for this one hymn, which is a “one-hit-wonder”. Mr. McAfee wrote the hymn Near to the Heart of God in 1903, after two daughters of his brother Howard died of diphtheria within 24 hours of each other. The choir of Park College went to Howard McAfee’s quarantined house and sang it outside the window to encourage the grieving family. The lyrics say, “There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God, a place where sin cannot molest near to the heart of God. Oh Jesus, blest redeemer, sent from the heart of God, hold us who wait before you near to the heart of God.” The comfort I feel even just reading those words is more wonderful than I can ever express.
In Psalm 23 David said ” GOD, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows; you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of GOD for the rest of my life.” That is the calm assurance, the place of quiet rest that we crave. Acts 2:26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
When we know that God is in complete control of our circumstances, because we have given them to Him, then we can rest in the fact that He will take care of us. I read something that illustrates this perfectly; a mom said to her small son as they started to cross the street, “Hold my hand”, his answer was “No Mom, I would rather you hold my hand”, “Why is that Sam?” “Because if I hold your hand, I might let it go, but if you hold my hand I know you would never, ever let go of me.” Point well taken.
Sometimes we get so upset when trouble comes that we actually forget that God is there to help, but He never forgets you. Isaiah 41:10 ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side. I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’ Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.”
God showed up for Daniel in the Lions den and was in the furnace for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He sent the angel to loose Peter when he was bound between guards because his friends were praying for him knowing he was going to be killed and He has shown up for Harolene more times than I can recount in this space. He is my quiet place of rest let Him be yours also.