Abundant Rest

Out of Control/In God’s Hands

Since I am someone who frequently has trouble sleeping, I am impressed by people who can fall into a heavy sleep while the world rushes by all around them.

To let go of all concerns…to turn off the mind and fully “crash” into sweet oblivion. To not worry about what needs to get done or what people will think. To just sleep soundly without a care in the world. This is my definition of “abundant rest.”

Flaming June, 1895, Frederick Leighton 1830-1896, oil on canvas, 47 3/8 x 47 3/8 inches, Image Source, Museum of Art Ponce, Puerto Rico

Continuing in our series of learning to live Out of Control/Into God’s Hands, I was captivated by this beautiful painting by Frederick Leighton called “Flaming June.”

The shimmering waters of the silver bay behind this young woman as she sleeps so peacefully, suggest to my mind the world of dreams.

She is innocent and totally letting go of the world and any possibility of harm.

Take a moment and notice all the details of this painting, enjoying all the colors and ask yourself: What are the feelings this painting evokes in me?

Slowly breathe in and out and relax into a moment of prayer…

Become fully present and just allow yourself to wonder…

Notice the cascades of orange dress: her flowing red hair, the pink of her cheek and the soft billowing red and copper blankets as they might suggest warmth…vitality…youthful and abundant rest.

As you fully sink into this scene ask yourself: What burden have I been trying to carrying all on my own?

And this is how it is with God–this is what he desires for each of us–this feeling of safety and this unshakable confidence that ultimately leans into the knowledge that God loves us and that we can rest with the warmth of his presence wrapped around us.

Do I have this perfected?  Certainly not, but I like to think that my periods of unrest have become shorter and less severe, the more I practice these kinds of devotions.

The Psalms are full of passages that assure us:

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34: 4-6

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14

But then I was surprised to learn of this passage in Deuteronomy that was the inspiration for this time honored hymn. I hope you will enjoy the gentle music and scenes of the video and then maybe say a prayer to our Lord releasing your burden into his care.

Maybe God’s peace be with you:)

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33: 27a


Carter Burwell soundtrack from the 2010 movie True Grit with Iris Dement singing Leaning on The Everlasting Arms written in 1887 by Anthony Showalter and Elisha Hoffman.


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