“There remains a rest, therefore, for the people of God.”
The writer of the Hebrew went on to explain that those who have entered “the rest” have “ceased from his works as God did from His”, to mean that only those who have died and moved on from the turmoils of this earth have indeed started their rest. The attainment of “rest” comes with it a prerequisite of “work”: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.” It also entails an approval before “rest” is given: “So I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'”
Reading these verses from Hebrews 4 made me think of the nature of man. Look around a typical working man and his unquenchable search for R&R (rest and relaxation), only to get tired after every vacation and coveting for more. Man has a seemingly insatiable desire to have ultimate comfort. How many times have we heard or ourselves wistfully desired, “If only I can be so and so, or I have this and that, I’m sure my life would be perfect.” Man, by nature, searches for something beyond the workings of the now. And in his continuous working, strives daily, hoping to land into that perfect place of forever. Yet no matter how seemingly perfect the situation we are in, it never seemed to last. That’s why when such times happen, we would have subtle wishes of, “I hope this would last forever,” knowing that it won’t because the steam of things would ultimately dissipate into mist.
God has placed eternity in the hearts of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11). It is that hole of “forever” that is so elusive we cannot even grab hold of it even as we try to put a cut-out puzzle piece to cover the whole. It is so pervasive, it dulls even the most active of souls.
We will never get satisfied. We will never get fully comforted. We will never attain perfect rest…at least not until we enter THE rest promised to us. And that is the redeeming value of rest, that we can have it. “And this is the promise that He has given us–eternal life.” (I John 2:25) There is a rest. There is a promise. Instead of prematurely chasing after rest (which we will attain in due time), let’s take comfort in the promise and believe that the One who has carved out that hole of eternity will one day fit His perfectly-molded piece and let us enter into His promised rest.