My Soul Will Rest in His Embrace
My soul will rest in your embrace. What does that even mean? That phrase comes, once again, from Oceans (where feet may fail) by Hillsong. The soul, according to Merriam Webster, “is the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life”. It’s the spiritual part of us. It’s the part of us that trusts God- or doesn’t. How does our soul rest in His (God’s) embrace? I think it means that we need to trust in his unfailing love, and trust that he will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, in order to accomplish his will. He will show us what and how to do what we can do, and give us the strength to do it. We don’t need to be constantly striving and achieving on our own strength.
Christianity is not about doing better, following rules, or extra burdens. It’s about trusting in Jesus, and the power of what he did on the cross, and it’s about allowing Him to change us, as we become more like Him, through the power of His Spirit in us.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
The term yoke, here, is used to refer to the extra burdens of legalism and rule keeping that the religious leaders were putting upon people vs. the yoke that Jesus offers, which is simply to accept his gift of grace and trust him.
Our human proclivity is to try and make our own way to heaven. It’s a story as old as time. It’s something that I struggle with still. I’m a rule follower, who likes to be in control, and the more the rules are followed, the more I feel in control. Trusting in God means that I give up that control and rest in his love.
The part that’s easy, as Jesus says, is the trust. It almost seems too easy, and that’s the hang up that many of us face. The heavy yoke of following rules that we can never live out perfectly, to try and earn love- it's exhausting.
Even as Christians, we can often accept Jesus’s grace and forgiveness initially, but then forget that it carries out into our daily lives, and we keep adding more regulations back onto what we think we need to do to earn his love. We already have his love. We cannot lose it.
The easy yoke is not referring to an easy life. Sometimes God calls us to do very hard things, risky things, things we know we can’t do on our own strength. Christians are not exempt from heartache and difficulty, but when we place our trust in God, we are not alone.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2
This is where I find rest. The gospel and the promises in his Word show me I’m loved. This is where you, too, can find rest and know that you are loved.
I want my trust in God to grow deeper. I want to give back to him, to serve him, not because I’m trying to earn his love, I already have it, but out of gratitude. I know that serving God will not always be easy but my soul will rest in his embrace.
“Unless and until we rest in God, we will never risk for God.” – Mark Buchman, The Holy Wild: trusting in the character of God.
The last few blog posts have been about the character of God, and why he is trustworthy. I have written about three defining attributes of God: he is completely sovereign, he is infinite in wisdom, and he is perfect in love. We can rest in that knowledge. Next time, I will share a story about a time when God showed me personally how he is trustworthy, and how he is with me.