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Repentance and Rest

“To do so no more is the truest repentance.”

Martin Luther

I’m amazed at how songs, smells, Scripture, and even food can cause me to return to a specific memory. Recently I meditated on Isaiah 30:15: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Reflection on that verse took me back to the first time this Scripture gave me encouragement.

My daughter Lindsay was hospitalized at sixteen months to see why she wasn’t gaining weight. I struggled with all the normal inadequacies as a new mom and hearing she may have failure to thrive, sent my insecurities through the roof. They tested her for cystic fibrosis and a psychologist observed me with her during a meal time. I stumbled upon Isaiah 30:15 and firmly grabbed a hold of it like a thrown life preserver. It brought me comfort and sustained me during her hospitalization.

This verse describes two things that save us: repentance and rest. Repentance, a gift from God, is a 180 degree turn away from sin and toward God, which restores our relationship with Him. It drives me nuts when I’m not on the same page as God and our oneness is threatened by my sin. Fortunately, God provides a way back to Him, through confession of sin and reception of His forgiveness.

We’re also rescued by rest. A few weeks ago I gave a message and I must have encountered a lot of spiritual warfare because the next day I was exhausted. The kind where you’re consumed with thoughts of returning to bed and staying there the remainder of the day. I wondered how I was going to pull off a whole day of writing.

As part of my quiet time with the Lord that morning, I sat out on the deck and listened to His voice. “Breathe, my daughter. Take this as a day of rest. Let go of your writing responsibilities for today and play. Experience some of my grace, which releases the burden you carried yesterday. Let me refresh and refuel you with a day off.”

His words caught me by surprise. I quietly inhaled and exhaled and savored the truth He just fed me. I took my Father’s advice and rested by not writing. Instead I got caught up on household chores and when John came home early from work, we went out on a date to a matinee movie. My Father knows best; He knew just what His daughter needed. It’s true: repentance and rest is our salvation.

“Repentance is a thorough change of a man’s natural heart on the subject of sin.”

John Charles Ryle

Relevant Reflections:

  1. If there’s any discord in your relationship with God, repent and receive His forgiveness.

  2. How can rest save you? What does rest look like in your life?

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