Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
I recall my years of adulthood before coming to Christ as being a very unsettled time of life. Yes, it takes some time to get acclimated to one’s independence and to establish oneself in life, but this was different. I always felt like I was just floating along, tossed by the waves with no control or direction. Eventually, being lost would affect me well beyond my waking hours. It was one thing to contemplate my life and wonder where it was going, to feel like nothing I attempted actually got me anywhere, but it was another thing for those thoughts to invade my sleep. I would have dreams in which I literally had no life, with no place to go and no one to support me. I would awaken with intense anxiety, realizing that these feelings were not unfounded. In those days, I simply could not find rest.
The day I got saved, the circumstances of my life did not magically change. I was in the same job that was driving me crazy, and I had the same roommate who was driving me crazy. My questions of purpose and destiny were still there. It is not as if saying that prayer and feeling the beginning of transformation actually changed all of those things that kept me up at night and made me feel so insecure. There was a difference, however, because I now had God with me. His presence allowed me to still experience rest although those circumstances were the same. This is because God’s presence imparts peace and confidence in knowing that we are in his hands and not merely making our own way through this world alone. It is the same peace and confidence that allowed Moses to follow God’s call and depend on him for rest while walking out that calling.
Following God does not mean that life is no longer stressful or oppressive. Trouble will abound for us, and that is merely something to expect. In fact, I might as well include that little snippet in all my devotions. The difference for the Christian is that God is present in our lives. Although our circumstances do not change, our response to those circumstances certainly does. God allows us the ability to be at rest in the midst of the most violent storms. The world need not be quiet for us to experience his stillness. Resting in his presence is not about sleep but about tranquility. We can be quiet with him although the world may be roaring around us. Father, thank You that You let us find rest in your presence even when the world will not relent.