When Sin and Unbelief Weary Me: Rest, Oh My Soul

Rest. It’s a difficult word, and I’ve failed to place and describe it in my life. There are many days when I turn from rest—in my heart and with my priorities. I’m ashamed, tired, and needy. And so, I cry out in repentance, Abba Father, forgive me, for many were the days I did not rest in you. I am weary, yet I seem to run away from your presence even though your arms are wide open. Please hear my plea and bring me to Christ’s peace, in whom I eagerly long for eternal rest. In his name, amen.

Resting Away from Christ

Beloved, can you relate to the following three major issues I’ve noticed each time I sought rest away from Christ?

  1. A self-seeking stubbornness, keeping myself crushed and forsaken despite the work of Christ’s cross and leading me to conclude, from a bottomless pit, “I am but dust, and, therefore, I shall rest when I return to dust.”
  2. A self-perceived, Christless worthlessness, where my past defines my present and the pressures I face convince me with the lie that “I do not deserve rest.”
  3. A self-inflicted condemnation, deeming myself sentenced to lashes, expecting falsely that such punishment will ultimately fulfill a works-righteousness requirement because of the lie that “this is my penance, my cross.”

Oh, how arrogant and foolish I am—and, like you, I hurt too.

How do we rest in God’s rest in a burnout culture that demands every inch of our lives, 24/7? We have every opportunity to hear Christ first thing in the morning, but we deliberately turn away from him. Our phones, calendars, and sinful pursuits claim a higher priority, leaving only scraps for God.

How do we rest in God’s rest in a burnout culture that demands every inch of our lives, 24/7?

Brothers and sisters, this is not what God has created us for! We aren’t meant to live on the throne of our lives, demanding everything and clenching our fists against his love for us. We do not need to live as blind beggars, exhausting ourselves with work, sexual sins, or even seemingly innocent pleasures that won’t deliver what we need: rest and comfort in and through our God.

Without Christ, we walk toward a discouraging destination where we can only arrive tired and hopeless. And you know very well that sexual sins are waiting right around the corner to make that final kill as you sigh, exhausted, after your 14-hour shift.

But Our Days Don’t Have to End This Way . . .

Because we know who our Savior is, and he knows us too (John 15:15). He is Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).

In him, we find rest (Matt. 11:28–30), though we were once unrighteous (1 Cor. 6:11).

In him, we put off the old and put on the new self (Eph. 4:22–24), knowing that one day, mourning shall be no more (Rev. 21:4).

In him, we “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8), for God is not far but near to the brokenhearted, saving the crushed spirit (Ps. 34:18).

He has counted our misery and placed our tears in his bottle (Psalm 56:8). He gives “a new heart, and a new spirit” (Ez. 36:26).

And so, we can pray, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Ps. 62:5).

Resting in Christ

Oh, beloved, as the gospel roots and grounds you in the love of Christ (Eph. 3:17), remember that rest means valuing each day as its own portion. Our time with the Lord today matters; it has an eternal bearing. What we do in the here and now should be a response to a grace-paced life, a life that ultimately trusts our Father in heaven and cultivates a daily resting in him and not in the worries of this world. “For tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:34b). That means you sometimes need to leave an unfinished task for tomorrow—that you will guard your hours with family and sleep—that you will say “no” to entertainment when you’ve set your priority to spend that moment with your Savior.

When long days deprive you of rest, when the tragedy of sexual sins leaves you undone, look to Christ.

Yes, we are dust, but our identity in this life remains ever secure in Christ. Let that inform and guide you particularly when resting seems impossible. Never lose sight of the reality that “as a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” Though our “days are like grass” and we are soon gone, “the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments” (Ps. 103:13–18). Remember, “you are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19–20).

When long days deprive you of rest, when the tragedy of sexual sins leaves you undone, look to Christ. Bear your cross (Luke 14:27). Repent. Like Job, who asked a valuable question to his wife amid her mockery and his suffering, ask yourself: “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10) Turn away from sin, beloved, and turn to Christ. Let the assurance of his rest lead you through the darkest of times. Remember, as Job did, that with life, “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.”

But don’t stop there. Even when grief tears your robes and shaves your head, persevere in worship with a heart that says, “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Our Savior persevered—sweating drops of blood, enduring lashings, and breathing his last breath on the cross. Because he finished the race and kept the faith, his children will, too (2 Tim. 4:7). In him alone, we find rest—the faithful rest of our souls.