There’s a German word that one of my Psych professors used that I’ve never forgotten: behaglichkeit. Traditionally it’s defined as “ease and comfort” or “coziness”, but she pointed out that it’s deeper than that. It’s like when a baby is sleeping so soundly–so peacefully, that you can lift it’s limbs and transport it and the baby never stirs…a deep, sound, complete rest. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Honestly, everything about my life feels like an ongoing search for behaglichkeit. I’m tired. I want peace. I long for rest, for that internal soul-rest. You too? We search for rest in religion, in relationships, in food, in money, in desires, in adventures, in escapes, in controlling and managing every aspect of our lives, in (fill in the blank). We’re looking for peace, for the elusive soul-rest. As those of you who claim Christ and have read the Bible know, the Word is full of verses on peace and rest for weary souls:
“You will Keep in perfect he whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians
“But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.” Psalm 33
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46
“Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” Psalm 55
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11
Sometimes these comfort me but I’m increasingly coming to understand that peace and rest are found in sitting in the presence of Jesus, not in doing more or reading more or anything more. Simply being with Jesus. Probably at least 15 years ago I spoke to a group of women about being instead of doing. I could see the blank looks on many of their faces and I remember thinking perhaps I was wrong–maybe Martha had it right and Mary was crazy (read their story here). But as my life continues forward, I see it even more clearly: my call as a Christ-follower is to cease striving and live. Stop trying to do and fix and manage and control my own (and other’s) life and emotions and trust in the Creator of the Universe.
Trust Him because He’s proved Himself trustworthy.
In those horrendous situations that bring pain and anxiety–He is at work.
Even if you don’t see it.
In those long-lasting, day-in day-out monotonous, recurring struggles, He is at work.
In those past pains that undergird our way of thinking and feeling and acting, He is at work.
In those relationships that seem hopeless, He is at work.
In the pain of depression and anxiety, He is at work.
In the debilitating illnesses, He is at work.
In the questions and doubts and fears, He is at work.
He is at work so we can be at rest.
Then the peace comes… a moment of behaglichkiet