Sunday, August 02, 2009

Find Rest?

I love the daily text's from the Moravians, and receive them by email every day. They're usually one of the first things I read in the morning. I figure starting my day with a little dose of scripture and prayer is probably a good thing. (To be fair, they're usually immediately followed by the Garfield cartoon for the day, but that's not what I wanted to talk about...)

The following daily text appeared recently in my inbox:

You have made the Most High your dwelling-place. Psalm 91:9

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

God, we thank you and praise you for the knowledge that we will find our true dwelling place in you. Draw us close to you and reassure us that when this life is over we will find rest with you. Amen."

This particular text managed to both encourage and frustrate me all at once. The scriptures about dwelling in God, and not worrying were an encouragement in a moment in which I was deeply exhausted and frustrated with many things.

However, the prayer at the end of the text frustrated me. It reflected a teaching that seems prevalent in so much of the church - that the only true rest in God comes when this life is over. I don't know about you, but I don't find the idea that the only time I'm going to have true rest in God is at death to be a particularly encouraging thought! And, I can't help but think about Jesus's statements about "I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly." and thinking that they don't sound like something that's only for the future. Or the cries of the Psalmists, talking about knowing the comfort and presence of God "in the land of the living" - don't know about you, but that sounds to me like it might come sometime before heaven.

I'm looking forward to heaven, don't get me wrong! It sounds like a fabulous place to be - "to live is Christ and to die is gain!" But I can't help but think that maybe it's time to challenge this dominant assumption that the only truly full life we can have happens after death? Because if I can't experience life fully, and find joy and rest and peace here, then what's the point? It's the "life is hopeless, and then you die." mentality that I recognized in the midst of the years I suffered from depression. And, all those years of depression, followed by healing, left me absolutely convinced that there are better things to be found here, before heaven!


Jim said...

Did not Christ invite us to "come unto" Him, "all ye who that labour and are heavy laden", and find rest? In the Old Testament, Isaiah has God telling us that "In returning and rest" we shall be saved, "in quietness and in confidence" we shall know strength". I am in agreement with you, my friend: Christ brings unto us, now, an oasis, an inner pool to which we retire again and again, a place where He "washes our feet" and renews us for the next step.

shallowfrozenwater said...

i'm tired of the puritan dogma and i want to live and be free!
thanks for these words.

Lisa said...

LOL! That's the best response I've gotten in a blog comment in a while Ian! Thanks!