Life has no shortage of problems. Jesus reminds his disciples to expect trouble (Jn. 16:33) and that each day has enough trouble of its own (Matt. 6:34). During these times, rest seems like the furthest thing from our minds. However, suggesting it sounds almost as foolish as curling up for a nap while a tornado siren goes off.
But this is precisely what we need to do.
How? Here’s a brief encouragement: a picture, a story, and a memory device.
A Picture: Rest on the Pillow of God’s Promises
When our hearts and minds are restless and raging, we need help. It’s challenging to reason with ourselves when the boat of our mind is taking in the water of our emotions. Like the storm in the Sea of Galilee, we can only see the storm in front of us. The omnipotent Savior resting is eclipsed by our clear and present danger. We need to hear the words of the one who can calm the raging sea within us (Mark 4:35–41). Our access to this transforming power is the Word of God. More specifically, the promises of God in his Word. We need to hear, believe, cling to, and rest upon God’s promises. He is faithful, trustworthy, and unchanging. When the storm is flooding in and threatening to capsize you, rest your weary head upon the pillow of God’s promises. It’s your only hope, and it’s your best option.
When the storm is flooding in and threatening to capsize you, rest your weary head upon the pillow of God’s promises.
A Story: Jacob
In Genesis 35:1, God instructs Jacob to go to Bethel. Why? He’s lingering in Shechem because he’s afraid after the Dinah incident (Gen. 34:30). More specifically, God promised to bring him back to Bethel (Gen. 28:15) and Jacob himself vowed to go (Gen. 28:19–22). God is telling him to live in faith because God is faithful. So Jacob goes back to Bethel and sets up an altar to God. But then, God appears to him again and reminds Jacob of two significant events in his life (Gen. 35:9–15). He reminds him of his promises to him in Bethel (Gen. 28) and his wrestling with God (Gen. 32). In both cases, Jacob was afraid. And in both cases, God was very faithful.
Remember back in Genesis 28? Jacob is afraid, and he goes to sleep upon a stone in the field. But God appears to Jacob and reminds him who he is and how faithful he is. Jacob went to sleep upon the hard rock of difficulty but awoke laying on the pillow of God’s promises. Now in chapter 35, Jacob stands in Bethel, reminded of God’s faithfulness. He knows that God keeps his Word. He is faithful. There’s hope for us, isn’t there? Can you see your resemblance in a duplicitous, discouraged man like Jacob? God loves to strengthen weak people like us.
Jacob went to sleep upon the hard rock of difficulty but awoke laying on the pillow of God’s promises.
A Memory Device
In one sense, you can just take the pillow of God’s promises and run with it. Think about what God promises you and rest upon it. But it may be helpful for some to take it a step further to a memory foam pillow.
If you’re in the fog of war and can’t see your way clear, remember this acrostic of the pillow. This memory foam pillow might help you rest well.
P – Propitious: God is favorable or propitious towards his people. He is not angry. Jesus has secured this blessed state by removing all condemnation (Rom. 8:1). Therefore, if you are in Christ, nothing about our circumstances can change his eternal smile upon you.
I – Immutable: God doesn’t change. He doesn’t evolve or get software updates. He is as he forever has been—perfect! This promise should never be out of arm’s reach (Mal. 3:6).
L – Loving: God loves his people before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4–5), at the cross (John 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:10), upon conversion (Rom. 5:5), and into eternity (Jude 24–25. His heart and all of his actions are mediated through his love.
L – Longsuffering: God is patient with his people. He knows that we are from dust and not the strength of steel (Ps. 103:14). Therefore, he is patient with his (Ps. 86:15; 103:8).
O – Omnipotent: God is all-powerful. No one and nothing can thwart him. So when you are feeling overwhelmed and the waters of worry are at your neck, remember your almighty God is for you. He loves and is faithful to you (Ps. 115:3).
W – Wise: We spend a lot of time wondering about the “why” questions. This is natural because of the pain and difficulty in life. We don’t know why. But, we mustn’t forget that God is infinitely wise (Rom. 11:33–36). I believe it was Spurgeon who said if there was a better circumstance for you to be in at this very moment then divine love would’ve put you in it. Trust him.
Rest upon the pillow of God’s promises. We know we have a great need to do it today.