So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. (Genesis 2:1-3)


I just returned from having a wonderful, beautiful, most fantastical vacation and sabbatical combination! It was such a blessing to be able to get away from everyday life. (Not that my life is boring, for sure). But, we all need a time of refreshing and recharging. My vacation with my husband was a road trip across a good part of the United States. Our goal was to go see the aspens in all their brilliance in the Rockies. Yes, we saw the beautiful shimmering golden trees along the high mountains. And hiking through a forest full of them was a sight to see. Everywhere we set our eyes, we saw God’s creation! His beauty. His majesty! We visited many areas of beauty. From some of the highest peaks in the US to the deepest parts at Mammoth Cave, we couldn’t soak in enough beauty! Our journey was certainly a physical one, as we traveled 4,500 miles through 15 states. But, oh, it was more. It became a spiritual journey of creation. Each twist and turn reminded us of the majesty of God our Creator. How much He must really love us to make such beauty out of nothing. We took so many pictures to try to capture all the beauty. We are still in awe, and since the trip, we have looked at everything just a bit differently, like each day is a gift from God. The opening scripture tells us God created everything in the heavens and earth. And yes, if you think for one minute there was not a grand designer of this world, just take a trip like we did. Your mind will be changed. I would say our trip was very spiritual in nature and we are extremely grateful for the opportunity.


After two weeks on the road, I was privileged to enjoy still more time of rest because of receiving the gift of a month-long sabbatical. Two weeks away is great enough, but then add a month! Hmmm. What do I do with that? Well, I had lists. I had ideas. I had some plans. In fact, I had so many I wasn’t sure a month was going to be long enough! With that thought I became a bit anxious and overwhelmed. I knew what a sabbatical was supposed to be for, but implementing it was going to be different for me. Why? Because I’m not a “resting” sort of person. But verse 2 of Genesis 2 tells us God rested from all His work when He finished His work of creation. That was what I was supposed to be doing. Resting from all my work. At first, all I could think of was my work. I trusted all those I had asked to step up and help (which by the way did a fantastic job!), but I was so used to going, going, going, that stopping was like riding my bike and realizing my brakes don't work so well. This was going to be an adjustment. Oh, I knew I desperately needed the rest, the break, and the recharge. It was just how that would happen that was the question. Think about it though, if God rested after His work and Jesus rested after His ministry times, then I must do the same. 


The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest - everything will be fine for you.” (Exodus 33:14)


Instead of being anxious about the time off because it wasn’t my nature to be still, I decided to make myself sit still for a moment and ask the Lord to show me how He wanted the 30 days to go. I asked Him twice. Both times, God placed one word on my heart. REST. That’s it! One word. The above verse for me now reads like this,”I will personally go with you, Brinda, and I will give you rest - everything will be fine for you.” From that moment on, I didn’t worry so much about my lists and to-do’s. I knew if God was with me, everything would be fine for me. And it was. My days were filled with what God wanted. Some days my rest looked different than other days. Painting, walking, biking, learning from a book, spending time with my grandkids and extended family, reading His Word, praying with a friend, and yes, literal rest (called sleeping in). 


In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. (Psalm 4:8) 


It was all rest, and I can say, God was personally with me. 


 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)


I had to decide to fix my thoughts on the God who loves me and who wanted to give me rest. He says I need it. Peace and rest usually go together. When we have perfect peace (which only comes from a relationship with Jesus), we will have rest. Giving my thoughts and plans to Him during my time off could only be good for me, and God wanted good for me. 


Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” (Mark 6:31)


Here we see Jesus taking after his Father and realizing that He too needed rest. Jesus and His disciples were coming back from a huge ministry tour and hadn’t even had time to eat, let alone take some time off. Now, I usually have time to eat, but there are times when I go, go, go in ministry and with family that I forgo some rest. Seeing how important rest was to God the Father and Jesus the Son takes the guilt from me. I must admit there have been many times that if I sat still for more than a few minutes, I felt like I wasn’t doing my part for the Kingdom. So, if you have those tendencies, pray, and ask Jesus to heal that in you. 


Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)


I was thankful to be off for an extended period so my mind and heart could be taught. Jesus spoke to the crowds letting them know they could release the heavy burdens and let Him take them. Even though this specific scripture refers to burdens caused by legal requirements from religious leaders, I believe this can cover anything that keeps us from resting in Jesus’ care and love for each one of us. Jesus has been teaching me to rely on Him for everything I need rest from. Weariness, worry, guilt, not feeling worthy, are a few burdens that may keep you from experiencing the rest He wants you to have. He doesn’t want any of us to carry a spirit of heaviness around. He said He will take it. That is how much He loves us. 


For only we who believe can enter His rest. (Hebrews 4:3a)


I have returned to my post and happily joined the team to continue God’s call on my life. I have had an amazing time of rest, but I am sure I will continue to need rest. In fact, that once a week “sabbath” is very important for everyone! Remember God says it is! But be assured that those who truly believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and put into practice the faith needed to do the work He called you to do, those will enter eternal rest. His Rest. We will not need a vacation or a sabbatical in heaven. As much as I enjoyed my earthly time of rest, there is no comparison to the joy that awaits! I trust I will see you in that eternal resting place! 


If you would like to know more about how you can be guaranteed an eternal resting place, please reach out to me or one of our pastors! 


Be Blessed,

Pastor Brinda