Rest. Relaxation. Stillness. Peace. These are the pursuits of summer vacation.
Our lives are lived at full speed. Each minute of the day is spent; we barely finish one thing before we rush on to the next. Going on a vacation forces us to slow down, to push pause on life, and to think.
Time away from work and routine is good but it only provides temporary rest and peace. Laying at the pool, walking along the beach, or camping under the stars may help us slow down but none provides the cure to a busy and cluttered heart. Even standing at the heights of a mountain and seeing God’s amazing work in creation won’t give us enduring peace. We’ll soon return to normal life and find ourselves busy and distracted by the cares of this world.
Our Lord knew busyness. Crowds of people followed him from place to place. Someone always needed healing. There was always a heart that needed hope, a life that needed resurrection. He had a purpose and he was intent on fulfilling it. Yet, he knew when it was time to slow down. Jesus took time, even in the midst of a demanding schedule to seek the rest he needed (Luke 5:16). He often went alone to the olive groves to refresh and find restoration. Yet it wasn’t simply about being alone or taking a break from working, he took these breaks to go to the source of peace and rest: his Father.
Jesus spent his life here on earth pointing us to the Source of all peace. He knew that our peace and rest doesn’t come from merely taking a break, it comes from communing with our Creator. It comes from knowing him, finding our meaning in him, and being completely satisfied in him. Peace and rest comes from knowing that all our burdens and cares have been taken from us at the cross. It comes from knowing that our greatest fear and burden, the sin that separates us from God, was removed forever when Jesus died as our substitute. And it comes from knowing that one day, he will return again and make all things new.
“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
Peace and rest isn’t something to be sought on the weekends or during vacations. It’s available to us every moment of every day. ”I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLT). Jesus came so that we would have peace and rest forever. He came to take all our burdens and cares. “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
As we enjoy our vacations this summer, may it remind us of the rest and peace purchased for us at the cross. Instead of living from weekend to weekend or vacation to vacation, let us rest in the presence of Christ each and every day. Because in Christ alone is our rest and with him is where we find the peace our heart longs for most.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13