Mercy Road Daily Prayer & Bible Reading ~ Friday, March 30, 2012

~ Read Exodus 35-36

Lord God,

I'm surprised at how often you repeat your command to "rest." When everything else in our world, (including, other "religions"), demand that people "work" for everything they get, that's kind of what we expect from you; however, that's not what you ask. No, you command your people to stop working. You command them to rest, and that's counter intuitive to us, Lord, because it's the opposite of every other message, we get in our work, relationships, and so on. They all say, "work hard, do good, and good things will come to you" but you just say, "Rest."

At times, Lord, I confess, it's all a bit confusing to me. After all, how is anything going to get accomplished unless I'm working? How will anything get done if I rest? Besides, I don't want to seem lazy, Lord, because I get frustrated with others make me do all the work.

However, ultimately, Lord, I when you command me to "rest," you're not encouraging me to be lazy. You're not telling me to stop worshiping, serving, loving, and caring. On the contrary, you are instructing me to trust you, and the work you've done for me. You're calling me to faith in Christ, and the sacrifice that he made on my behalf. You're asking me to be confident in the knowledge that your grace is sufficient for me. When you call your people to rest, THAT is what you are commanding them to do.

On the one hand, Lord, that should be easy. After all, there's nothing I can to do earn the forgiveness I need, win my salvation, or merit your love, because it all a gift of your grace. At the same time, I am so used to working for my wages I can't seem to stop. As easy as it sounds to, "rest in you," Lord, I find it's equally hard to. It's difficult to accept a gift, whatever it may be, particularly one as great as salvation. After all, I can't even receive a birthday gift without feeling compelled to send a, "thank-you" in return. I know it's just the polite thing to do, but sometimes, when I receive a "thank-you" for a gift I have given, I even get the crazy idea that maybe I should be sending a "thank-you" for the "thank-you," to acknowledge that I appreciate their acknowledgement.

I know it probably seems like I'm rambling, Lord, but there is a point to what I am saying. At times, this world can be so, "tit for tat," I simply struggle to break the cycle when it comes to my relationship with you.

How can I receive your grace, Lord God, if I don't impress you first, with whom I am? Why would you forgive me if I haven't yet jumped through all the right hoops? How can you possibly love me, if I don't have enough scripture memorized, my theology isn't perfect, my faith is too weak, or I fail to live up to your holiness? I don't get it. It doesn't compute in my head. It all makes no sense in the equation of this world, and so I struggle to rest in you.

But rest is what I want, Lord God, and rest is what I need. So I pray, that's what you will give me today, the faith, the trust, the confidence I need, to find my Sabbath rest in the enduring love you showed me through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, Amen!