What the North American Church Needs to Know About Rest

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There’s a drought here in northern Alberta.

Our garden is like a piece of cardboard. All 1,000 feet of it, just dry and flat and aching for water. The plants straining, their necks reaching and the sky a wide stretch of barren blue.

Every two days Trent hauls water from his parents’ dugout and we bend over every seed, every leaf, every skinny stem and we gently water it, coax it to keep on living until the sky decides to open.

Some afternoons, thunder, and a few shy drops fall, but for the past month it’s been mostly a brazen sun, and we’re weary. We’re weary and worried, and yet, the thunder. Trent keeps singing, “I can hear the thunder in the distance, a train on the edge of the town,” and it’s a song about revival. It’s a song about the Spirit pouring down and I think of Joel 2, of the promise of the Spirit on our sons and daughters. I think of the drought the church is knowing across North America, I think about the 750 million people who are thirsting around the world, who are dying of thirst because they don’t have clean water to drink, and I fall on my knees.

Beg God to heal our land, beg God to heal the cracks in my soul, beg God to fulfill the words of Joel.

And then we wait.

Because this is faith.

REST.

Rest is faith.

REST is:

Repentant spirit

Eternal perspective

Surrendered mind

Trusting heart

Faith does not always mean stepping out. Sometimes it means quietly sitting and waiting. The waiting is often harder than the stepping out. Because you see, we cannot control the weather.

We are not responsible for the rain. God is. God is the only one who can open up the storehouses of heaven and relieve the earth. No matter how many advances science makes, it cannot control the weather. The Lord holds that, and He uses it to teach us. To teach us to repent, to pray, and then, to wait.

We see the now, versus eternity. We see the fields dying. The insects, eating what little is left of the crops because the crops are too weary to raise their heads, to fight. We see the dusty dirt, the coughs of dry air and the way the dugout water just puddles on top, the dirt is so dry. Because what the gardens and fields need is a downpour. They don’t just want to be fed a few drops from a watering can. They’re thirsty. They’re so thirsty they’re dying. They’re desperate for days of water.

But God sees Tomorrow. He sees forever. And sometimes a little thirst, a little drought, is what the church needs to fall on its knees and repent for ever thinking it didn’t need God. For thinking that somehow, we as people could get away without a Sabbath. Without a rest.

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” ~ Isaiah 30:15

We need rest.

We need to invite the Sabbath into our homes, into our workplaces, into our hears and our spirits. It’s not about Sunday, friends. It’s about Sabbath. Our land is aching for one. Our children are watching us run ourselves weary and they don’t want to grow up because of it. They’re scared of all the pills we’re popping just so stay awake. They’re scared of the fear in our voice when we yell at each other. They’re scared of the toppling divorce rate, even amongst Christians. They’re scared.

Perfect love is the antidote to fear. There is no room for scary voices when you’re resting in love.

We’re thirsty for this kind of love. For Abba to sweep us up and hold us close to his chest. For the sound of his voice in our hair telling us over and over, “You are my beloved,” and for the unhurried way of a child, leaning on her Father.

And then?

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It rains.

It rains so hard it bounces off the ground, it rains so hard that little boys get soaked running in their bathing suits through the yellow grass, it rains so hard because the heavens have been aching to relieve the earth, and God has been filling up the clouds with the tears of his people.

God’s spirit, it pours down when we repent and rest. When we sit quietly in our need for a Savior.







Making It Home

20 Comments

  1. I needed this this morning—-a church who is losing members, now a pastor and his musical family who were such an asset!!! Concerns for family members, our great nation etc., etc., I’m a senior citizen and longing for revivals like I saw in my younger years. So I keep praying, asking God what he is trying to say to us, to me. thank you for this blog, shared by my one daughter!!!

    Reply
  2. Emily-Oh, I love this post. We do need rest and we do need to repent and we do need to wait on Him. I too weep for those without water. It feels so hopeless sometimes. We are so desperate for Him. I am so desperate. Lord, show us. Heal us. Direct us. Guide us. Humble us. – cornelia

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  3. I am drinking in your words Emily.
    Your direct voice of truth in prophetic prose.
    Here where I am in upstate New York the Spirit is really starting to move {could you intercede for Elmira and Bath, New York tonight?}
    It is a near palpable song over us and river pouring through us.
    It’s exciting and terribly hard at the same time because, yes, He is showing us how barren and weary and puny we are in our faith. And as our eyes and hears start to truly hear and see and received its like flash flood chaos for a bit. But it does not stay.
    Regardless of the process, or even the why, it is always good and full of glory.
    Cheers,
    Leah

    Reply
  4. So good Emily!! I’m sharing with the Sabbath Society peeps this weekend. xxx

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  5. Emily, I love the analogy you have shared …
    REST is:

    Repentant spirit

    Eternal perspective

    Surrendered mind

    Trusting heart

    Praying for God to deepen all four in me. XO

    Reply
  6. I have felt this running deep in my heart too. Fear subsides with rest and brings us close to God’s beating heart, and that is all we need. Thank you for writing this!

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    • beautiful, Christina. “Fear subsides with rest…” Amen.

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  7. I love this analogy of resting and waiting and then the rain… It would be wonderful if revival would flood our land instead of the rainstorms we have had lately. As parents, we need to practice and teach the rest of Sabbath. Practicing Sabbath is something I am fairly new at, but I am loving it! Thank you for posting this, Emily.

    Reply
    • I know, I resisted the Sabbath for so long too and now I’m regretting that… it’s so crucial to our growth, no? Bless you friend.

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  8. I love this Emily! I am unraveling and yet hanging onto our God. I am thirsty and yet soaking up everything He showers upon me. I am tired but waiting upon Him for strength upon strength. Praying with you for a deluge of God in our world. Let His kingdom come! hugs and blessings

    Reply
  9. Em, it’s been awhile since I’ve been here. Wow–such wise words.
    1) that acronym is powerful
    2) you’re so right about the thirst/drought metaphor. I join you prayers–Holy Spirit pour out on us and heal us!
    love you!

    Reply
  10. Emily,

    Grinning and goose-bumping here with you. Thanks for this glimpse of our amazing God.

    Your line here earlier grabbed me most: “Faith does not always mean stepping out. Sometimes it means quietly sitting and waiting. The waiting is often harder than the stepping out.” Yes, I have seen and breathed that too.

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    Reply

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