I’ve been thinking a lot about rest lately. Earlier this week, I found myself in Hebrews 4 where Paul talks again and again about “entering into his rest” (v. 1, 3, 5, 8-11). The Book of Mormon describes it as “enter[ing] into the rest of the Lord” (Alma 13:12). I think it’s an incredibly intriguing idea. Notice that this rest is something we must “enter” into—which is a word that means “to come or go into” or “to become a member of.” It’s almost like it’s a secret club where we have to know the password to be given entrance. And that definition intrigues me even more.
I know my first instinct is often to say, “Yes, I may rest after I die, but with everything life keeps throwing at me, I’m destined to remain a member of the stress club instead of the rest club.” Life can be so relentless that it often seems impossible to ever reach a place of peace and stillness. So even though the scriptures sing sweet songs to us about rest, that can feel so far from our reality, it’s almost laughable.
But I think we should take a second look at this idea before brushing it off. Moroni makes it clear that the “peaceable followers of Christ” are those who have “obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven” (Moroni 7:3). So this rest really is supposed to be ours right now. But in the middle of working and raising kids and serving in the church and battling financial struggles and health problems and family drama, how can such a thing be possible? We may think that the only way is for all our trials and afflictions to instantly cease. But I think the Lord has something much bigger and better in mind.
I believe the “rest of the Lord” isn’t some utopian place where we no longer have any problems or stress to deal with. Instead, I believe it’s an inward state where our heart remains completely at rest—where our mind and spirit are calm, no matter what else is going on around us. Can you even imagine what it would be like to live like that? Talk about a mind-blowing miracle. It would be like living every single day in the eye of the storm. The clouds would continue to swirl around us, but we’d remain completely at peace, unaffected by all the mind-numbing chaos.
So how do we enter this amazing state of rest? There’s only one way to gain access to this secret club. It must be “given” to us by the Lord (Hebrews 4:8, 16, see also Ex. 33:14, Josh. 1:13). Think about what we’re told in that well-known passage in Matthew 11:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (v. 28-30).
The idea of soul rest is so beautiful to me. It’s something I desperately want in my life right now. I have more on my plate than I’ve had in a very long time, and it seems like the last thing I could experience at the moment is soul-deep rest. Which is why I think the Lord sent me to Hebrews 4. The key is in believing He really can give me that rest. That He really can keep me in a state of inner calm right in the middle of the craziness. In fact, Paul says the only thing that can keep me from entering in is unbelief (Heb. 4:2, 6-7, 11). If that’s the case, I don’t want to miss this great blessing by not exercising the faith to enter in.
The Lord has promised us: “[T]hey who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls” (D&C 54:10). So our job is to take Him at His word and believe such a thing is possible. As He warns in Isa. 30:15, “For thus saith the Lord: In returning and rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be your strength and ye would not” (see also D&C 84:24). The choice really is up to us.
Now that the Christmas season is upon us and the busyness is beginning to beat on us from every side, I want to live in the eye of the storm. Anyone else want to come with me?