Rest for the Soul

Greetings from Indianapolis, IN! I may be new to you, so let me introduce myself. My name is Crystal Brim, I’m 25 years old, and I first met people in this ministry one and a half years ago at Indiana University.

I was raised in a traditional Christian denomination—I loved God, I loved the Word, and I was well-versed in the doctrine of the Trinity: I was taught that one has great faith when he/she believes in the mysterious “double nature” of Christ and his personage in the Trinity. However, a friend challenged me to dig into Scripture to see for myself who Jesus Christ is. After months of spiritual unrest and searching the Word, I finally relinquished my inherited tradition of the divinity of Christ and sought to embrace him as the sinless Son of God who sacrificed his life for me!

This has caused much angst between my family, friends, and me, but it has also driven me to the Bible for truth, and I have found more rest in the Word of God than I have ever felt before. Searching for peace, I found seven things in the Word that bring rest to the soul: Music, Sleep, Nature, Humor, Friends, Prayer, and Scripture. I invite you to explore them with me.

Music: In 1 Samuel 16:14-23, King Saul was troubled because the spirit of God had departed from him, so he had David play the harp until “relief would come” and he “would feel better” (v. 23). David continued playing the harp and composed many of the Psalms while Saul persecuted him. For example, he cries out for help in Psalm 143, while in Psalm 145 he sings a song of praise to God. As David shows us, songs help us connect with God and the strength He offers. Godly music soothes the soul.

Sleep: Rarely can our souls find peace when our bodies are exhausted. God has prescribed sleep and physical rest from the beginning of Creation. In Genesis 1, He created the Earth and everything in it in six days, but on the seventh day God rested from all His work (Gen. 2:3). Therefore, our Father has modeled that work should be followed with a proper time of rest. Accordingly, we see that He designed the tilt of the earth to produce a time of day with a matching time of night. As we sleep, our pulses slow down, as do our controlled cognitive activities. Thus, sleep provides a time to physiologically and emotionally “re-charge.” [1]

Nature: We experience the majesty of God in nature or, more accurately, “creation.” In Psalm 23:2 and 3, the “green pastures” and “quiet waters” literally restored the soul of the psalmist. In addition, the grandeur of mountains and the power of the sea reveal the awesomeness of God, which no human could ever duplicate. It is comforting to know that this mighty God is the One who fights for you and me! Scripture demonstrates that God powerfully reveals Himself in the quiet beauty of nature. In Luke 1:80, 4:1 and 2, both John the Baptist and Jesus spent time in the wilderness before beginning their public ministries. Jesus continued this practice during his ministry as he withdrew to quiet places such as gardens.

Humor: In Ecclesiastes 3:4, God reassures us that though there is a time to weep, there is also a time to laugh. Samson is a good example of using humor under pressure. In Judges 1 and 2 the Israelites disobeyed God by failing to drive the Canaanites from the land Promised to Abraham. Furthermore, they intermarried with the pagans and assimilated their gods. In this disobedient culture, only Samson fought the pagans as God had commanded. In addition to Samson’s enemies hating him, his countrymen betrayed him because they feared Canaanite retaliations (Judg. 15:11-13). Under such pressure, Samson found a humorous way to destroy the crops of his enemies (Judg. 15:3-5): He caught 300 foxes and tied them “tail to tail in pairs.” Samson then fastened a torch to every pair and set them loose in the standing grain, vineyards, and olive groves of the Philistines. It would have been much easier to just set the fields on fire with a torch, but Samson needed some relief from all of the stress of leading Israel single-handedly. Similarly, he amused himself in Judges 16:1-3 by removing the colossal city gates from Gaza in the middle of the night. He then carried them to the top of a hill 6-10 miles away, for all of Gaza to see. [2]

Friendship: David’s friendship with Jonathan brought comfort to his soul while Saul was trying to kill him. In response, David sought Jonathan’s council and companionship (1 Sam. 20); they vowed oaths of brotherhood, kissed each other, and wept together. Likewise, Jesus spent time with his disciples the night of his betrayal. He told them, “…I have eagerly desired to eat…with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15), because they had stood by him in his trials (v. 28). Jesus looked to his closest friends, Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, for companionship and support. They went to the garden, where Jesus confided to them, “…My soul is overwhelmed…Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matt. 26:38).

Prayer: In the garden, Jesus prayed when his soul became “…overwhelmed…to the point of death….” He was under the greatest physiological state of stress known. Jesus was so honest before God with his needs that he prayed three separate times, “…Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). As Jesus modeled, when we are troubled or weary, we should pray. God promises that He hears our cries, and He answers them!

Scripture: The Word of God keeps us centered on the promises of God and Jesus Christ and anchored in truth. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3—“…Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Here, Satan tempted Jesus in the desert and Jesus fought back with the truth of God’s Word: “It is written.” He committed himself to knowing Scripture, and therefore could endure the Cross because he knew the “joy set before him” (Heb. 12:2). He had studied God’s promises in the Messianic prophecies, and in those words Jesus found strength and solace.

Music, Sleep, Nature, Humor, Friends, Prayer, and Scripture each bring rest to our soul. The first five are important, but prayer and Scripture are indispensable. Scripture is our anchor, and prayer is communication with God and the Lord Jesus, the Captain who calms our hearts through every storm.


[1] Exercise is also a way to relieve stress, but in biblical times, people got sufficient exercise through walking and their necessary physical labor.
[2] For more on Samson and his humor, listen to our 26-hour audio seminar “A Journey through the Old Testament” by John Schoenheit.

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