Rest Assured

The righteous cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:17–19, NASB95)

Rest assured. I like that phrase. Let’s dissect it and I think you’ll see why.
First of all, let’s examine the word rest. It conjures up images of stillness, sleep, respite and relaxation. Think of a time when you rested. Maybe it was at the end of a long, hard day; or after a particularly difficult and energy sapping activity. Resting reminds me of lazy Sunday afternoons not doing much of anything but recharging my batteries and getting ready for the week ahead. Resting is being comfortable and replenishing one’s energy.
The next word in that phrase is assured. Some synonyms for assured are guaranteed, certain, secure, positive and indisputable. In other words, when we are assured of something, we know it’s going to happen.
So let’s weave those two words together into a rope that we can hang on to when the hard times come.
The first thing we have to realize is that even God’s children are going to experience trouble in their lives. It’s not always the result of sin, although it certainly can be, for our Heavenly Father will allow trouble into our lives as a form of discipline. So if you know of something going on in your life that is causing a rift between you and the Lord, the very first item of business is to confess the wrongdoing and get the issue cleared up. If you don’t know of anything, then ask the Lord to reveal any unknown faults that may be the cause of your trouble. King David had a formula for asking God to take inventory of his heart: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23–24, NASB95) Since the Lord wants to have unhindered fellowship with us, he’ll answer quickly and decisively so you can take care of the problem.
But what if we have no known sin in our lives and the Lord does not reveal to us any unknown sin? What do we do when the way is blocked by pain and hardship and the burden is so heavy it seems impossible to take even one more step? First, we can rejoice that the reason for our hardship is not disciplinary, then we can turn our attention to the matter at hand.
It’s time to rest.
A broken heart makes you feel like dying. Like there is nothing more to live for. The pain and betrayal are more than anyone should possibly have to bear and life as you knew it is over.
It’s time to rest.
A crushed spirit leaves you weary and depressed. Discouragement sets in and you are struggling through a dense fog of despair.
It’s time to rest.
But how can we rest when things are so bad? When the way looks hopeless and there is no end in sight? How can we rest in the turmoil of trouble?
You can rest because you’re assured.
You can rest because you’re assured that the Lord hears your cries for help. So cry out and rest.
You can rest because you’re assured that he feels your broken heart. So draw close to him and rest.
You can rest because you’re assured that he will deliver you from your despair. So reach up to him and rest.
Two small words big enough to conquer any doubt, fear or burden.
Bad times will come, we know that without a doubt. But we can rest, assured that the Lord will deliver us.

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