ON many occasions, at the end of days that by all rights should have been exhausting -- numerous commitments, difficult people, important decisions, and the like -- I've actually felt quite rested and ready for more activity. At other times, when the schedule was light, the people easy, and the work routine, I returned home exhausted. Doesn't that point up something important about rest -- that it's more a question of how we view ourselves and our activity than it is solely of physical and mental exertion?
The Bible provides us with the spiritual logic for such a viewpoint. In the Old Testament there is a promise that hits the nail on the head: ``They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;...they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.''1 And in the New Testament are Christ Jesus' tender words ``Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.''2
Aren't these passages inviting us to turn to God and His Christ for our strength? Jesus' teachings also point to the need for a higher concept of ourselves as the very outcome of God. This truth undergirded the Master's healing works. He showed that man isn't, in absolute truth, the weak, vulnerable creature he often appears to be but is the spiritual offspring of God, the perpetual reflection of divine Spirit with its strength and wholeness.
This radically different understanding enabled Jesus to heal individuals literally worn out by illness, such as the woman ``having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any.''3
Those to whom Jesus came needed something more than the tired model of man alienated from God and without hope of rest. What they needed -- and what we can have today -- is an understanding of the nature of God, and of man as He has truly been created by God. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points to the truth of man above a mortal, physical sense of life when she writes, ``The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, -- thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying.''4
The ``divine nature'' -- isn't that the key? Since God fills man's being with His own spiritual qualities, we need to understand more of the divine nature rather than look to ourselves as fleshly creatures with X amount of energy and Y number of tasks that day.
God is infinite Spirit, and the spiritual characteristics that God expresses in man are not therefore depletable. Nor is man, made in God's image. And we can benefit from this spiritual fact today.
God's love for man is inexhaustible, because God is infinite Love itself. Divine Love knows no such thing as frustration or dullness or loss of patience, nor does man, Love's image. This spiritual truth can help us if we feel a loss of love for our work, if we've allowed some tired characteristics into our thinking -- irritation and boredom, to name a couple. Such mental intruders can leave us tired. On the other hand, love for what we're doing, as well as love for co-workers and family members, can bring rest to the busiest of days. And we can come to feel more of that love as we understand the nature of God as divine Love and our own true nature as Love's likeness.
It falls to us to practice this truth, to make it a part of daily thinking and living. Then we find sweet rest -- day and night.
1Isaiah 40:31. 2Matthew 11:28. 3Luke 8:43. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 259.