By Randy Edwards
Believing in Jesus is the most counter-cultural thing you and I will ever do.
While the world chases down instant gratification,
demands quick solutions,
politicizes cut and dry platforms,
preaches morality in black and white sound-bytes,
and invests itself in endless Facebook debates,
we as believers are called to get quiet,
pray without ceasing,
Really? Well, isn’t that lame and lazy?
Just sit around and do nothing, you say?
Resting need not be confused with accomplishing nothing. It is not a substitute for productive work, nor does it connote a couch potato. Resting is not the opposite of labor. In fact, one can rest and strive all in the same motion. Rest need not infer weakness, passivity, spectatorism, acquiescence, blind faith, or shifting one’s brain into idle.
The way I read the Bible, I believe resting means actively “faithing” God’s eternal process, which, most of the time is not the common habit of humanity (or, at least, it certainly does not come naturally for me). Our ways and our thoughts demand the quick fixes, clichéd one-liners, glib come-backs, fact-checked truths, and the meaning of life reduced to the 140 characters of a tweet. Keep it simple, we say.
Alas, if we demand that our belief system be utterly simple, totally obvious, and always clear, then that’s a pretty good sign we have created a religion god in our own image. Having tried to eliminate the mystery from our belief system, we have thereby lost the very essence of belief itself. Knowing and believing are not synonyms. They are, in fact, opposites.
A pastor I served with thirty years ago would often say from the pulpit, “I know that I know that I know that I know.” And the hyped-up congregation would pronounce a hearty, “Amen.” Sitting high and lifted up on the chancel near said proclaimer, I kept thinking to myself, “If you’re so sure you know, then why did you have to say it four times? Who are you trying to convince, us or yourself?”
If we know something, where is our need for faith? We know that 2 + 2 = 4. That fact requires not one modicum of faith in order to apply it. But to believe God even when we don’t feel God’s presence, can’t see the whole picture, or strongly disagree with a fellow believer on an important issue, now that is function of faith. And those faith functions are best exercised, not in isolation, but in community with one another.
“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one hope for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”
Rest means hoping rather than knowing.
Rest means trusting when we do not see.
Rest means accepting another when we cannot concur with his opinion.
Rest means “faithing” rather than proving.
Rest means relationship even when there is disagreement.
Rest means taking a deep breath and trusting God implicitly.
Rest means relaxing our fingers and dropping our judgment stones … all of them … in the dirt.
Rest means unclenching our fists to extends hands of friendship.
Rest means allowing the chasm between us to become holy ground.
Rest produces human compassion rather than self-righteous judgment.
Rest means finding a place peace, and celebrating it with everyone
within the reach of a warm and lengthy hug.