The baby wiggled uncomfortably in my arms, whining with his eyes closed. Over-stimulated and over-tired from the overflow of love my young daughters had been pouring on him all morning, my best friend’s baby boy needed rest. But he had no idea how to get it.
I held him close to my chest, put his pacifier in his mouth, and walked rhythmically around the room. He forgot his whimpering song within moments. No matter how hard he tried to fight it, sleep seduced him. His muscles relaxed, his little arms fell. His suckling stopped, and his breath calmed.
I smiled, the metaphor not lost on me.
I am that baby.
All too often I resist that which I know I need most – rest in the Lord’s unfailing arms. I cry and whine and flail, not realizing the very thing I’m fighting against is what I want most. Or, worse, realizing He is my truest desire and stubbornly refusing to go to Him anyway.
Why do I do that?
The Lord is waiting with bated breath, “Come to Me…and I will give you rest!” (Matthew 11:28). He longs to lavish refreshment upon me, but I must choose to come…
“I will lead you beside quiet waters!” (Psalm 23:2) He says, but if I want the renewal, I must choose to follow Him to the stream…
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it,'” (Isaiah 30:15).
The baby analogy breaks down in that I was able to override his 4 month old free will. He had no choice but to succumb to the physiological trance his pacifier and my bouncing put him in. (There’s rather fascinating brain science behind this… get on the Google.)
I, on the other hand, being a slightly bigger and smarter human being (questionable), require a lot more coaxing before I can be forced into rest against my will. As near as I can tell, I have a say in the matter, and God isn’t willing to violate that say.
As much as I wish He sometimes would, God doesn’t give me a pacifier and hold me tight until I pass out. He allows me to stay as cranky as I choose to stay until I decide I’ve had enough and will come to Him for rest on my own accord. And, sadly, I can fight Him a lot longer than my little buddy who falls asleep by our third trip around the coffee table.
Why do I do that?
I could learn a lot from my little baby friend.
When I’m tired, when life is overwhelming and I’m over-stimulated and over-extended and flat OVER everything… Lord, help me choose Your rest, and help me to trust it really is what I want and need most.