A few years ago, my wife started noticing that I had the ability to fall asleep basically anywhere! Also, when I would fall asleep in random places, I often looked pretty funny. So, in good humor, my wife started documenting these random sleep moments and the funny faces I would make in my sleep, by taking a picture with her phone. One year, to prepare for our small group’s white elephant gift exchange, my wife took some of those photos and had a coffee mug made for one lucky winner! I have to say, that unflattering mug was a hit! However, in this blog, we’re not talking about resting in the random nap sense of the word. We’re going to spend just a few minutes talking about divinely commanded and provided rest under the sovereign care of our God who holds everything in His hands. Let’s look at Psalm 127 for a moment:
1 Unless the Lord builds a house,
its builders labor over it in vain;
unless the Lord watches over a city,
the watchman stays alert in vain.
2 In vain you get up early and stay up late,
working hard to have enough food—
yes, he gives sleep to the one he loves.
3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
offspring, a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons born in one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
They will never be put to shame
when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.
Solomon compares our human efforts to the work of God in our lives. God is the one who builds the house, watches over the city, gives rest, and provides us with children. Our efforts, on our own, are all “vain.” We cannot build our families after our image. We cannot, in our own strength, protect ourselves or our family members. We cannot work hard enough to accomplish what only God can bring about. Finally, though God allows us to be involved in the process of bringing children into the world, we are not their creator and they are not our possession to do with as we please.
This truth is so comforting when we consider the impossible task of home discipleship. We always feel inadequate and that is because we are inadequate in all things. Only God’s power can truly build, protect, produce, and provide. It is only God who can save our children, and yet he calls us to be a part of the process. By God’s mercy, we could stand as aged parents with our saved and discipled children standing behind us in support when someone brings a false charge against us. Imagine being supported and ministered to in your old age by the children God commanded you to disciple!
Fathers, why can you rest today? You can rest today because God is at work. You can rest today, because the God that you follow cares about you and your family. You can rest today because He welcomes you to allow Him to build your life and the lives of those closest to you. Your rest, in this particular area and others, will become an expression of trust in God. As you actively leave the anxious toil of the world in His hands, He will remain faithful and do the work you’ll never be strong enough to do.
Fathers, rest knowing that your Heavenly Father is actively building!