“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4:8

God loves to offer his children rest and peaceful sleep. It’s a repeated theme throughout the scriptures (Psalm 95:7-11, Matthew 11:28, Hebrews 4:1). This kind of peaceful rest comes by entering the presence of God, because God’s rest is an extension of himself.

It is in God’s presence where we feel and deeply know God’s unconditional love. When we enter God’s rest, he eases our anxieties, he illuminates what’s true, and he welcomes us with belonging and identity. In God’s presence, we can hear God more clearly and we can sleep more peacefully. This is wonderfully good news!

Here’s the bad news. The writer of Hebrews discusses the theme of rest in the negative sense. Based on the resistance and rebellion in the Israelites, the author concludes, “we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19). Interestingly enough, this author is suggesting we can know who is not walking by faith because they have failed to enter a state of rest.

Many who call themselves Christians have heard the good news of salvation. Many have accepted the truth that they are sinners in need of extravagant grace and believed in their heart that God’s grace is sufficient to redeem their wrongdoings. Unfortunately, many still fail to enter God’s rest. They fail to enter God’s presence to receive the fullness of his loving kindness.

If you make your faith a transactional gift of eternal life, but fail to enter God’s presence of unconditional love, you may need to heed Hebrews warning and return to God’s presence today. Use this liturgy for resting to begin your return journey today.

Lead me to your rest, dear Lord. Lead me to your rest.
Lead me into being and becoming, laying down my urgent tasks.
For even you rested on the Sabbath.
Lead me away to quiet places, leaving the company of friends and family.
For even you withdrew to solitary places.
Lead me to be still and know you are God, loving you more than created things.
For with you, I lie down in safety, my weary soul can breathe.
Lead me to your rest, dear Lord. Lead me to your rest.