There was a big burly lumberjack who came from a long line of lumberjacks. His parents named him … Jack. He was hired to cut down 30 trees a day. For the first few days the 30 trees fell easily under his axe, since Jack was a stud. But on day 5 he only cut down 25 trees, and on day 10 only 8. On day 20, even though he was swinging that axe faster and harder than on day 1, only 3 trees fell. Jack was so confused and frustrated, not to mention very tired since he was working harder than ever.
The supervisor was worried about his best worker and came to observe why Jack’s performance had trailed off so dramatically. The supervisor saw that the lumberjack’s axe was completely dull. So he told Jack, who was huffing and puffing and on the verge of exhaustion, that he needed to sharpen his axe. Jack fearfully blurted, “I can’t. I don’t have time … I need to cut down 30 trees today and I am already behind.”
Does this describe you some days? So many of us are exhausted, worn out, and in need of true relaxation and refreshment. I don’t mean sleep … I mean real psychological and spiritual rest. We keep swinging harder and faster, but our blades, our tools, are dull and getting duller by the minute. By dull, I mean our life and decision-making skills, really our psychological and emotion management skills, just aren’t as honed as they should be or as we need them to be.
We’ve been so indoctrinated to think resting means idleness or laziness. Our insecurity and past mistakes push our need to swing furiously and often, to show that we are worthy, or to make up for our past. Jesus, who had the most to do, rested often. Resting in God has two huge benefits: first, it allows us to sharpen our axes as we clear our lenses and hone our skills; second, when we relax in His presence, we demonstrate trust in Him to take over and accomplish what we can’t. We always need to find that balance between trusting and resting in Him and being an active and good steward of what we can control.
Trust is such a rich word, filled with meaning and direction for our life. So many of us do the exact opposite of what God wants for us. We turn away from Him when we are exhausted because we associate God with duty and diligence. We wrongly believe that going to Him means we have to do more, instead of allowing Him to give us more.
Today, set aside 15 minutes to take a rest and specifically lean on, trust in, and be confident with God. Meditate on His power and His love for you. Relax in His presence. When you lean on Him for support and rest, He delights in your trusting confidence in Him. Then as you rest, listen to what He is telling you, either directly or through your circumstances. He will talk to you. Your decision, rest in Him or rely on yourself, choose well.
Dear Father, I come to You depleted and worn out. I come to You, Lord, for refreshment. I know that resting in You will save me. I thank You, Father, for Your reassuring Word that You spoke through Your prophet Isaiah, telling me that coming to You in quietness and trust shall be my strength. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I may lean on Your understanding, not mine. I pray this with trust and expectation, and in the name of One who rested in You perfectly, Jesus; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength