Rest is Hard WorkFriday, September 23, 2011
I did it again and again when our children resisted our instruction and correction. I did it again and again when they debated a command or questioned our plans. I did it again and again when they opposed our authority and quested for self-rule. I did it again and again for two good reasons.
To begin with, my wife and I had brought children into this world who thought they didn’t need us! Each of them at some point fell into believing they were far more knowledgeable and capable than they really were. They all assumed that their intentions were noble and their plans were sound. They all thought they were capable of determining what was best, even when they lacked important information and experience. They simply felt they were in possession of a better way.
But there was a second reason I did it again and again. Our children were too young to grasp the abstract, strategic, and often theological purposes underlying my instruction. Even if I explained everything in as age-appropriate a way as I could, they would still have no actual understanding. They just didn’t yet have the categories or the capacity to grasp the parental logic behind the plan or command.
So I did the same thing again and again. I would kneel down in front of them at eye level and say, “Please look at Daddy’s face. Do you know how much I love you? Do you know that your Daddy isn’t a mean, bad man? Do you know that I would never ask you to do anything that would hurt you or make you sick? I’m sorry that you can’t understand why Daddy is asking you to do this. I wish I could explain it to you, but you are too young to understand. So I’m going to ask you to do something—trust Daddy. When you walk down the hallway to do what Daddy has asked you to do, say to yourself, ‘My Daddy loves me. My Daddy would never ask me to do something bad. I’m going to trust my Daddy and stop trying to be the Daddy of my Daddy.’”
God does the same thing with you, over and over again. He meets you in one of the difficult hallways of your life, kneels down before you in condescending love, and asks you to trust his loving and wise rule, even though you don’t have a clue what he’s doing. He knows there are many times when your life doesn’t look as if there’s anyone ruling it, let alone someone wise and good. He knows there will be times when you’ll wish you could write your own story. He knows that at times you'll be overwhelmed by what’s on your plate. He knows that his plan will confuse and confound you. And he knows that real rest can’t be found in understanding. Real rest is found in trust. He knows that real rest is hard work. So he’s willing to have the conversation with you again and again, and he’s made sure that his Word assures you of his rule again and again. (For just a few examples, see 1 Chronicles 29:11–12, Psalm 103:19, Psalm 115:3, Proverbs 21:1, Isaiah 46:9–10, Daniel 4:35, and Ephesians 1:11).