Problems happen. As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, another trial or challenge is just around the corner – that is, if you’re not already in the middle of one at the moment!
Why do so many people seem to be falling apart these days? Even Christians, who have been trained, taught and prepared for life’s trials, seem to melting into complaining, whimpering blobs these days. All of those verses about trusting in the Lord, prayer and not fretting seem to be like water off a duck’s back for the majority of believers today. Where are we going wrong?
In Jeremiah 50, things could not be any more grim for the nation of Judah. They were at the end of God’s rope and in the process of being cut off. Nebuchadnezzar and seventy years of captivity were at hand. Decades of unfaithfulness had caught up with God’s people and judgment was inevitable. Those last years of misery broke the Father’s heart as he said, “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.”
God says that his people were lost; they were the victims of false teachers who preyed upon these Jews for their own gain. God’s people were left with no guidance and turned away into the mountains, wandering through life as if it were a wilderness – going from mountain to hill – from place to place, finding no joy or satisfaction. Years of purposeless wandering and despair were their lot simply because they had failed to remember that they had a restingplace.
How many believers today are in the exact same predicament, duped by religion, by ministries out for their wallet or by prowling preachers? How many believers see life as purposeless and their journey more as a wilderness wandering than a marathon with a finish line? How many believers are pretty sure their soul is saved, but look at life as a “lost” cause as they go from place to place with no joy or contentment? For them, the only “restingplace” that comes to mind is a coffin where they can final exit this rat race and go to be with Jesus. Someone has missed something.
That something is that we all have a restingplace – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” (Psa. 23:1-2) Where are those green pastures and still waters? Please Lord God, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon...” (Song 1:7)
The answer is actually incredibly simple and has been right under our nose the whole time! “THOU art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about....” (Psa. 32:7) “Lord, THOU hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” (Psa. 90:1) “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, HE is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Psa. 91:1-2) “Be THOU my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort....” (Psa. 71:3) “Come unto ME, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
What a blessed promise - God is our place of rest! No temple or pilgrimage is necessary – he is our “little sanctuary” (Eze. 11:16) that is only a bowed head or a dropped knee away. Unfortunately, such a blessed promise is not what many believers want to hear today. They want relief – for the problems to go away and for the pain to instantly stop. The concept that you have can be in the middle of horrendous problems and still find a quiet restingplace that will satisfy your every need for peace, grace and rest – just you and God – slips their mind and never becomes a reality.
How long has it been since you have been to your restingplace? Or have you forgotten about its very existence? Or worse yet, would you refuse God’s offer of rest because he is not living up to your expectations? That is, He is failing to work out the details of your life in the manner YOU think he should? “To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.” (Isa. 28:12)