My feet touch the criss-cross brick pavers with sentimental recollection. Memories of salt air brushing against my face. Walking hand-in-hand with the man I’ve loved for more years than I thought I could count. Sunsets sinking into the ocean’s horizon while we cuddle on Hawiian, floral beach towels.
In this quaint, artistic town sculpted around a God-carved nook in the ocean, we once again feel the romance blossom and the rest bathe our weary spirits. Here in Carmel-by-the-Sea, our worries are shelved as we stroll by familiar boutique-style shops, art galleries, and storybook houses on the path to where the waves gently break against the shore and the sea air blows away any tension.
We breath slowly–for this is a time of rest–soaking in the medley of flowers that paint the streets of this scenic town. Joining in the melody are the lyrical tones of passersby whose European words drift on the salty breeze. Everyone smiles and greets each other in Carmel while the cutest four-legged creatures, some small, some large, wag their friendly tails. We chat with a dog owner in front of the Cafe Carmel. Scratching the Labrador’s black, shiny coat, we share our dog stories with its likeable owner, and then continue on our way.
Rest. This is rest. The rest our pastor admonished us to take. Not just for us but for all Christians. As Pastor John Miller covered many Scriptures during his teaching on Genesis, it became evident that God designed us to rest as well as to work. And just as God rested from His work, we should do the same.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:2,3 NIV
But rest is more than just a time of refreshment from our labors. It is a holy time. Look back at the above Scripture. When God finished His work of creation, He blessed the seventh day and made it holy because He rested from all of the work of creating.
To rest is to follow the Lord, our pastor, pointed out. The body needs rest, he said, and only in God do we have true rest. Pastor Miller continued to explain that our “ticket” into God’s rest is faith and trust in Him. Our soul needs rest as well from anxieties, fears, and cares of this world.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIV
Even in the midst of our work, we can find rest for our souls when we put God first and allow Him to carry our burdens and the pressures we face.
So, what does rest for the body look like?
It can be different things for different people. Opening the pages of a book and stretching out on a sofa can bring rest from our daily work. A day in the park. Time spent walking through God’s glorious creation and giving Him praise massages away the knotted muscles. A picnic lunch. A Sunday drive with the family.
Gardening. Sitting under the stars. Swimming, running, splashing in the ocean. A short vacation.
|Seals and Sea Lions Sun Bathing|
|The Lone Cypress along Monterey’s 17-Mile Drive|
The key, I believe, is that we seek what type of rest the Lord sees fit to provide for us. We need Him to be a part of the rest from our labors if we are to be truly refreshed.
|Longtime Friends who drove down to see us|
Our trip to Carmel was a gift from the Lord. There we basked in His glorious creations from the pounding surf along Point Lobos to the sea life we observed from the cliffs above. The tangled Cypress trees topped in green leaf hats with grayish white trunks spoke of His unique creations while a vast array of colorful flowers shouted the wealth of His artistic hand. The rekindling of friendships forged when our children were young also demonstrated God’s unique care of us.
As you ponder that rest is “holy,” what is your response to God’s call for you in this and how do you find rest?