Growing up, there would often be envelopes tucked in to our Christmas tree. These were not ornamental envelopes but rather gifts finding their place nestled in the tree limbs rather than beneath. What I didn’t know then is the writing on the envelope was far more of a treasure than the greenbacks found inside. The envelopes from my grandparents, Mom and Pop, were always marked with our nicknames. You’d never see a Leslie on an envelope addressed by my Pop. To them, I was Satch – but that’s another story for another day. In college, I received letters from Pop asking how my studies were going and retelling stories of the years he spent learning trades. Inside and out those letters were full of scratchy, all capital, slightly slanted writing that’s etched itself into my heart forever. These days we miss so much of what handwritten words offer and how they endear us to the ones who wrote them.
The writer of Hebrews gives a deeper understanding to the words of God wrote to us saying,
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
God’s Word produces in us and brings out of us what no other word or source can. The verses immediately prior give greater context to what the Word of God offers….
“for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…” (v 9-11)
Even though these verses may seem unrelated on the surface, Hebrews is connecting REST and HIS WORD for a reason.
- When our foundation is sure (the Word and truth of God), there is REST. (1 Cor. 3:11)
- When saving work is pronounced finished and complete (God rests and so can we), there is REST. (Heb 1:3)
- When our motivations are laid bare (we are fully known and fully loved), there is REST. (Heb 4: 12)
- When we are reminded of His nearness and power on our behalf, there is REST. (Ps 147:5)
- When we allow the authority of God’s Word to cover us, there is REST. (Ps 119:89)
As we submit to the authority and power of scripture, we are relieved to take ourselves out of the driver’s seat. We are then free to work as an outflow of the rest we have in Christ and not as means to receive it. His Word invites and sustains our REST.
Is the connection between REST and HIS WORD is now clearer?
When I see my grandfather’s handwriting, my heart softens and smiles. I immediately recall memories and moments of my childhood (a time way more restful than adulting, for sure!). His handwriting reminds me of who I am and who I came from. For Christmas this year, my Daddy gave me an unexpected gift. I could tell from the look on Daddy’s face, this gift promised to evoke emotion. It was a simple, Ziploc bag full of coins labeled on the outside by a hand-cut strip of paper attached by scotch tape on either side. The paper reads 11-16-87. On November 16th in 1987, my Pop placed those coins in the bag I now hold in my hands. As I read the date in that recognizable script, my eyes watered with tears remembering Pop’s preciseness, his big heart, and his careful way of life. In seeing his writing, I remember all over again his deep love for our family and for me. Pop’s unmistakable handwriting softens my heart and brings me just a glimmer of the peace and rest offered by my Heavenly Father. I don’t have to wait 33 years for the next bag of coins to stop me in my tracks, I am invited into the living word of my God every day, every moment and so are you. When we approach His Word with a soft heart, obedience and faith, our gracious God is faithful to offer us unequaled rest.
You have a handwritten, God-breathed precious letter from our Heavenly Father waiting on you now; won’t you open it up and find rest for your soul?