When I was in middle school, I fractured a finger while at basketball practice. It was painful and I wanted to play through it, but the pain was too much. I ended up going to urgent care later that night and the next day they put most of my hand in a cast. As a result, I had to sit out the rest of that season. I did not want to sit out, but for my finger to heal it had to rest.
In life, God gives us opportunities to rest. Often, it seems much easier to continue moving. I have noticed that in my life, my default is to stay busy. When someone asks me how I am doing, my response is often, “Good, doing well, keeping busy.” Why is it that as humans we look for ways to keep ourselves busy? I think it is because resting feels dangerous. I would have preferred to not sit out that basketball season after fracturing my finger, but I had to in order to get better. The same is true with broken relationships. To get better, we have to pause and choose whether to obey God or keep living our way.
The author of Hebrews talks about this in chapters 3 and 4. He is reflecting upon the Israelites in the book of Numbers where they sent the spies to check out the land that God promised to them. After seeing how menacing the enemies in the land looked, they chose to not enter the land that God had promised them. Hebrews 4:8-11 says, “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”
The rest that the author is speaking of is the inheritance that God promised the Israelites – the land, and, eventually, their salvation through the work of Christ. They did not care about their inheritance at that moment, they were only thinking about their fears of the physical. They did not care what God promised them, they were caught up with how weak they were. When it comes to the fractured relationships in your life, are you choosing to live in fear of the hard work and hurt that mending the relationship could bring or are you resting in God’s restoring power by praying for that relationship and trusting God to do the hard work of healing what is fractured?
Rest is not natural. At the moment, it does not feel like praying for our broken relationship is the most powerful thing we can do. However, to heal, we have to stop working, choose to sit out and ask God to do what only He can do.