‘Moses said to the Lord , “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” ‘
Souls crave rest. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, they relinquished the rest that they were designed for. I don’t mean physical or even mental rest. In the garden Adam and Eve had work to do but they also had a profound sense of inner rest and peace, doing their work in the presence and with the help of God. Humans were not designed to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders; that’s a job for God. Humans were designed to work hard but be at peace in their souls. Dallas Willard captured the sentiment well when he said, “busy is a condition of the body, hurried is a condition of the soul.” We were not meant to have the anxiety of a hurried soul.
In this passage, Moses pleads with God to send someone with him. He pleads for God’s favor and the knowledge of his ways. God answers Moses’ prayer with a promise of presence and rest. In God’s presence there is rest. Why? Because we begin to sense his care for us, his capacity to watch over us, and we begin to transfer the weight of our circumstances to his shoulders. We become free to labor without stress.
What do you typically do when you feel uneasy, anxious or lonely? If you’re like me, you try working harder to make the things you’re anxious about go away. I’ve tried distracting myself with TV shows or iPhone games. I’ve tried seeking out new adventures. How have those things worked for me? They don’t work. Rest is found in relationship, not in activity. The shadow of God’s presence is the most restful place a soul can be.
Take a few moments to diagnose your current strategy for dealing with anxiety and stress. How do you try to find rest for your soul? How is that working? Then consider the tremendous rest that could be found if you were to instead cultivate a deeper, eternal, unfailing rest in the God who loves you. In what setting do you most experience the presence of God? Finally, remember that it is in that presence that souls find rest. Seek His presence and rest there.
By Aaron Bjorklund