This morning when I got up, I kept hearing Chris Tomlin’s song “Lay me down,” in my spirit. I like the song, it’s upbeat and catchy. But, I really started thinking about the lyrics and what it actually says. Often I can hear something, but not really listen to what its saying. I hear the sound, but don’t listen to the message of it or just don’t really think about it. While I was thinking about it, I started visualizing a kid who fights a nap. I’ve seen kids do everything possible to fight sleep and avoid rest. Kids can do some really silly things to stay awake. They wiggle, ask for food or drink, go to the bathroom a million times, cry, sneak and play after the parents leave the room. But, after a long fight, usually sleep just overtakes them or they skip the nap and become unbearable the rest of the day.
If I don’t get enough rest, I know that I can be hard to live with. I try to medicate myself with enormous doses of coffee, but that’s just a quick fix to the problem. Anyway, after thinking those few thoughts, God spoke the verse “Be still and know that I am God.” The thing is, if you are still and not fighting rest, you find it pretty quick. Your eyes get heavy and the next thing you know, you’re in dreamland. After thinking about that verse, I wrote down some key words that I felt went along with my whole visualization that I know God gave me, for at least my own personal life. The four words I wrote down were lay, listen, rest and know. I started digging in the word and wrote down some verses to look up later when I had more time to examine what God may be trying to show me.
First, for lay, I read about Jesus laying down his life for his sheep….for me and you. (John 10:11) Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice. Next, I read 1 John 3:16 and it says that Jesus is our example of love because He laid down his life for us and that we should do the same for our brothers. Sacrifice involves laying down things that are hard to lie down; otherwise it wouldn’t be a sacrifice. The thing about sacrifice is that God isn’t going to force us to lay that sacrifice down, he wants us to be obedient and willing to do so (John 10:18) Jesus became willing to go to the cross. So, back to the thought of a kid taking a nap, in order for the kid to receive rest, he has to first decide to lie down.
Second, listen. Listen is an action word. I cannot hear well, I wear hearing aids and often I have to really focus on the person speaking to hear them. Other noises that are louder will distract me from actually hearing someone who is speaking soft. When I was a kid myself and couldn’t go to sleep, my Dad would tell me to just close my eyes and think of good things. I would most of the time listen to his advice and do that and fall asleep. But if I listened to the worries of the day or the fears that lingered in the shadows, I’d toss and turn and have trouble falling asleep. So, the first thought is that to find rest, I need to listen to my Father (Heavenly one). John 10:27 says “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Proverbs 1 says that those who are wise listen yet fools despise wisdom and discipline. I don’t think I want to be a fool, but I know that I have been and sometimes I’m foolish and stubborn because I don’t listen. 1 Samuel 3:9, “So Eli told Samuel, Go and lie down, and if he calls you say, speak Lord, for your servant is listening. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.” In this verse, the word servant stands out to me and the word Lord. The Lord is lord of my life, He reigns over me and I need to be willing to be submissive to hearing what He wants to tell me.
Third key word is rest. My first key scripture took me to Job 3:17. Job is upset and he’s tired, he wishes to never have lived and wants death because he sees that as the quickest answer to his problems. He wants to find rest and he thinks that death is it. I’ll admit that I’ve had those thoughts myself in the past. What I can take from this verse or the whole passage is that when I look inward, I’ll only find wrong answers. I’ll hear the wrong voices that want me to quickly destroy what God’s answer is instead. But, Psalm 62:1 says my soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. I don’t have the answers to my problems; I can’t save myself or others, my rest and salvation come from God alone. How do I find that rest? Matthew 11:28 says “come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” So, I have to go to Him to find rest. I know when I was a kid and if just thinking good thoughts wasn’t enough for me to fall asleep and find rest, then the next thing I needed to do was seek my Dad and have him hold me. It was easy to fall asleep in my Dad’s arms. I was safe there.
Lastly, know; when I rest what do I know? I know that He’s God (Psalm 46:10). I have to know that God is above all, He is in control, not I. John 14:17 reminds us that the world doesn’t recognize God because they don’t know Him. As His child, I know Him and I know His voice. I can trust Him, because I know Him and know that He loves me. Romans 7:18 reminds me that apart from Him, nothing good lives in me. I am sinful by nature. Romans 8:28 reminds me that I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. God is working in all situations, even when I can’t see it. I have to rely on this love and because I see and know this love, I’m supposed to show the fruit of love to others (1 John 4:16). Finally, 1 John 5:14 – 15 says “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”
So, in conclusion, I lay me down, I’m not my own. I belong to you alone…….