I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. — Psalm 62:1
As a coach, I used to love preseason practice. (As a player I could have done without it.) I loved working with the players and coaches, the camaraderie of being part of a team, and the anticipation of opening night. Preseason was always electrifying.
Then came the first game. The scoreboard was turned on, and a new element was added—the element of stress.
A victory on Friday meant I had about twelve hours to enjoy it, then preparation was underway for the next week. A loss was even worse because then I had to wait a full week to get back in the win column. Little by little stress increased as I not only prepared for upcoming opponents, but also had to deal with the dynamics of players, personalities, parents, and the Monday morning quarterbacks. There are many ways of dealing with stress; unfortunately these ways only provide relief. But God offers something beyond relief; He grants rest.
The difference between relief and rest is that relief helps us forget for the moment, while rest gives peace and restoration. Relief takes our mind off of things. Rest grabs our heart and sturdies us.
Part way through some of our seasons, I would skip church a few times. My relief would often come in the form of sleeping longer, eating more, or watching films. Looking back, I now realize how time with the Lord would have made a difference.
I’ve often heard Christian leaders say that we miss what we really need to hear when we stay away from church. How much else do we miss when we put down our Bibles and pick up the scouting reports? Coaching takes time, but it’s also important to rest, and our time with the Lord is where we’ll find it. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves” (Mt 11:28–29).
1. What are your relief or “escape” valves? Why are they so attractive?
2. What does Psalm 62 teach us about God?
Extra Reading: Psalm 62
Father, help me discipline myself to seek the best of rest. Amen.