Ever felt like the anticipation of rest is more than the rest we actually get. You know when it’s a Thursday evening and you tell yourself just one more day and it’s the weekend. That feeling when you know Saturday morning lie in is coming. When you don’t need to snooze the alarm. It’s even better when you’ve had a long week. You can feel the dancing in your brain imagining all the rest you’ll get.
Unfortunately sometimes weekends don’t always deliver. Something happens that makes it hard to rest well. A sick child, a mourning friend or a bad quarrel with a spouse. Or you get that full weekend but perhaps the fear of the coming crazy week robs you the rest you anticipated. And even when we’ve got the perfect weekend we know it’s not going to last. Monday tends to come quicker than we imagine. And if you are unemployed rest becomes an unwelcome friend.
What is it with rest that is so fleeting? We want it so much but it always seem to escape us. The entertainment world tells us we can get it, just pay for Netflix. Go out hiking with friends or do nyama choma. But none of it seems to deliver on our wild craving for it. Are we just ungrateful people? It’s possible. Have we become too obsessed with rest that we miss the good occasional blessings of it? I think we have.
But there are also many things that make good rest one of those rare things despite God putting it in our weekly calendar. Perhaps the longing for perfect rest is like what C.S Lewis called a desire for something in the world beyond. It’s ingrained in us but can’t be fully realised in our present world. Perhaps we were made for rest because we were made for God. Isn’t it striking that we meet the idea of rest right at the beginning of our creation story.
Genesis 2 tells us;
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2 NIV.
Of all the things you think about God have you ever associated him with rest? That he’s for rest and fun? Perhaps our pagan religious roots has made God feel like a man who hates rest and is anything but fun. We might even think a good Christian taking a day off is ungodly. It’s no wonder sometimes people can feel church is no fun. Like God is out to get me busy and heaven is all about Keshas and crusades. Well not really. The God we find in Genesis 1&2 works and after that enjoys his eternal rest. Actually our work is supposed to point us to that unattained rest. We were made for this rest with God.
The Hebrew author commenting on this says;
9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4 NIV.
Now that makes heaven fun doesn’t it? God isn’t calling us to a choir of angels flipping our wings up and down. He’s inviting us to take a holiday with him in his perfect creation. Just imagine going on a safari with Jesus with Paul driving. Man oh man! You must be like man I could do with that like now. Maybe you are not the outdoor kind of guy. Think about this then, playing a snooker game with King David. Or maybe it’s Timothy, David feels like the hunting kind of guy. Though he might enjoy a bit of dance for those with more than a left leg.
Now I know I’m making some of you uncomfortable with this but maybe it’s our imagination that needs a bit of work. I don’t for once imagine a boring heaven like our mystical religious world portrays it. Nor do I presume a hellish paradise with drugs and prostitution as the wicked man would want. I think the God who calls us to rest, the God who imagined the beauty of creation and one who really cares for his children is a lot more fun than we imagine. His is actually the right kind of fun. And in Jesus we can long for that perfect rest and for more than a weekend.
Listen to how Isaiah puts it and tell me if that’s not some perfect way to rest. Isaiah 25 says;
6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines. Isaiah 25 NIV.
You heard that right. God is calling you to a heavenly party after party. Great meat, good wine, no tears, no death and no evil. If we got that even for a weekend it’d be worth everything wouldn’t it? Imagine having it for eternity. A life of fun with the Almighty and all knowing God. Imagine what his idea of fun is when you remove sin, death and Satan in the capture. I know I can’t wait. Can you?