This is the final article in a seven part series of devotionals based on “Oceans” by Hillsong United. If you missed the beginning of the series, click here.Rest, we all need it. Physically, we cannot keep going without stopping, at least for some period of time. It’s impossible.
I have always been a person who knew she needed her sleep. As a child, I was always the kid who was falling asleep very early.
“My soul will rest in Your embrace.” -OceansAnything going on in the evenings would really have to grab hold of my attention for me to try to stay awake to continue with it. As a camp counselor in my teenager years, younger kids (that I was supposed to be supervising) would often laugh when they’d see me hunched over asleep in a chair at 8pm in the middle of activities.
So maybe there is something biologically based in me that speaks to this, but I love the simple concept of rest – stopping and recharging. It really is blissful to me.
But there is another form of rest beyond the physical, and that’s rest for our soul.
Our souls need rest as well.
But often, we try to find ways to rest our emotions and soul through vices. We turn to food, alcohol, gossip, and other forms of coping. We may feel good in the moment, when we indulge in these practices, but they are not real forms of rest. The food leaves you sluggish and bloated. The alcohol disrupts sleep after initially going to bed, and makes you feel worse in the morning. The gossip rattles around in our minds, occupying more unproductive thought than it should.
Resting in vices only feels good temporarily, like taking an hour long nap in place of a full night’s sleep. For that hour, it feels great. But when we have to get up, we might be more tired than we were before sleeping.
So where do we find real, lasting rest for our soul?
One of my favorite pieces of Scripture comes from our King Jesus, where he tells us iin Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (The Voice)
Ah, my soul just melts at this invitation. I truly love it.
Jesus loves us so much that not only does He offer us eternal life, He offers us His strength, power and love in this world.
In the American culture, which I am part of, rest is not a cherished concept. We are rewarded when we strive, toil and sweat- it’s the American way! And we love rags to riches stories.
But let’s not confuse that with the Gospel. Let’s not confuse our cultural priorities with the way of the Kingdom. God calls us to rest, but not just rest alone, but rest in Him.
Rest in God is a whole new way of life.
A way of life that stems from our relationship with Jesus. It’s in Jesus where we find rest.
As depicted in the words of Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus will enable us to rest once we turn to Him with our troubles, stressors and anxieties. He will take our burdens and give us His way, His truth and His light.
Whatever you may be burdened with, you are not left alone to deal with the load. Turn to Jesus and simply let Him know what is bothering you. Ask for help turning over your troubles to Him. Ask Him for help in trusting Him with your worries. He will help you in every way possible.
Like Peter, you just need to call out to Jesus who is right there waiting to help you.
I feel that the concept of Rest is a poignant topic to end this devotional series.
I loved journeying through the worship song “Oceans” by Hillsong United. Like I have said in previous posts, “Oceans” is a very powerful song for me and it has been an important milestone in my own faith journey.
But before we come to a close on this particular series, I would like to go back and touch on the key concepts of each part of the series.
“Oceans” Series Summary
My interpretation of “Oceans” is that it’s all about overcoming fear, stepping out into the great unknown. But not alone of course, which is another focus of the song. Our power, strength and courage only comes from our relationship with God. He is the one who enables us go forth, hand in hand with Him. God calls us to greater depths of life, which means we must let go of our inadequate way of doing life.
God is calling us out of hiding – out of our way of living – to His way that brings peace, joy and love. We often think our hiding spot will keep us safe and secure, like Adam and Eve did; but it is only an illusion. Our hiding spot is a prison.
The only one who can help free us is God.
Often, when we are called out of hiding, we are scared. We are not sure if we can trust this very new way of living. As we have travelled through “Oceans”, we have focused our attention on God calling us from darkness to light, and that is not an easy journey. It’s a journey that is impossible without the presence and power of God.
Sometimes we are bold and courageous and leave behind our old methods of survival to step out in faith, only to find ourselves easily frightened. Like Peter, when God calls us out on the waters of the great unknown, our feet do fail and we lose our perspective and become scared again.
But God is right there, ready to grab our hand. To help keep us from drowning. We must always have Jesus as our focal point. If we don’t, it really is a losing battle. We will eventually start to sink again as we focus our attention on the ever shifting environment, feelings, and situations.
God is the one who called us out of our hiding spot to walk with Him in this world. He never wants us to do this in our own strength alone. That would defeat the whole purpose, which is to grow in our relationship with our Savior.
The relationship with our Maker is the single most important relationship we could ever have.
It’s through this relationship that we find our true identity, our purpose, our strength, and love. From the fruit of this relationship, we are able to then turn to the people in our lives and pour the love and grace of Jesus Christ into them, just like Christ did during his earthly ministry.
This relationship with God is where we find true rest, rest for our souls. It’s only through reaching out to God and allowing Him to embrace and shape us, that we can find peace.
I hope this “Oceans” devotional series helped you to grow closer to God. I hope that you may have learned something new about yourself. More importantly, I hope that you felt the love God has for you, as He is sitting with you right now.
“My soul will rest in Your embrace” – “Oceans”
Take courage, this world may be difficult, but the amazing news is we are not alone. God didn’t leave us to self-destruct, no just the opposite.
He came and saved us from ourselves and now is offering a real relationship with Him, while we swim the vast ocean together.