I have many memories of my father taking my siblings and I fishing in the early mornings during summer break. We’d rise before the sun stretched its first rays over the mountains, pack our meat and cheese sandwiches, and snuggle into the pick-up truck to catch the brilliant orange and golden-yellows flush out of the dark and make way for the soft blue sky of morning.
By the time we'd set up our poles and chairs on the banks of the lake, my sisters and I would be chattering away, cajoling each other into sliding the worms onto the hooks, and calling out, “Heeerrreeee fishy, fishy!” Eventually, my father’s voice would boom out, “Alright! Let’s just…” and then he’d slide his hand horizontally through the air. We’d settle down and listen. The fish plopped in and out of the water as they caught water bugs, birds welcomed each other from afar, and dragonflies zipped along the warm air. And we’d just…rest…and be.
My father’s favorite part of fishing was not catching fish; it was sitting in silence and resting in God’s creation. I’ve been thinking about my father and rest lately because I’ve needed and been missing both to a large extent. By the time May arrives, both my students and I are tired. We remind ourselves that we just finished spring break and that it was supposed to rejuvenate and provide us with the endurance to finish the race that is fourth quarter; however,
the reality of AP exams, research papers, and final projects (coupled with the inevitable and ubiquitous skill of procrastination) makes rest, in its full sense of the word, seem ungraspable. It’s often a mad rush to reach the finish line of the school year. On our last full day of class, I told my students that I hoped they got the rest they deserved and needed during summer break.
There are many verses about rest in Scripture. Some of them refer to physical rest here on earth. A large number remind us that we don’t need to work out our own salvation, but that Christ has done the work for us. All the verses about rest, though, explicitly or implicitly reference the ultimate rest of eternal life when we are reunited with God in heaven. Truly, then, work of all
kinds is over. Psalm 23 is oft quoted, but the verses are a perfect example of all the forms of rest our Heavenly Father provides us: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads
me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake” (verses 1-3).
A group of students asked me what I thought I’d be doing over break. I said, “I don’t know, but I think I’ll just…” and I slid my hand horizontally through the air. They nodded knowingly, and one
said, “I hope you do.”