What sustains us in the midst of life’s challenges? After two years of living through a pandemic, we all need sustenance that will enable us to move forward in faithful devotion to our great God. The wonderful truth of the Scriptures is that this is not just about us trying harder, but it is God himself who upholds and sustains us.

This series, written by Sarah Condie for The Bible Society Australia, reminds us of God’s character – that he is a God who loves and reaches out, offering grace and words of life. As we rest in the truths of who he is, what he has done, what he promises to continue to provide, and the certainty of our hope, we will find rest and strength for our souls.

Resting devotion 1: His gift

This is the first in a devotion series on the theme of resting, originally written for the Bible Society Australia. Join us over the next 14 weeks as we visit texts that remind us of God’s character – that He is a God who loves and reaches out and offers grace and words of life. As we rest in the truths of who he is, what he has done, what he promises to continue to provide, and the certainty of our hope, we will find rest and strength for our souls.

Resting devotion 2: Refreshing truths

Paul’s letter to Titus is full of practical advice about Christian living. Paul devotes most of his letter to the behaviour and conduct of the Christian believer and the importance of living a godly and ‘productive’ life. But that’s not the heart of the letter. Paul’s key focus is on God’s grace and how that grace shapes us.

Resting devotion 3: Becoming beautiful

Have you ever been given a bunch of poppies – that don’t look like poppies? Growers cut poppies before they open; they’re just a bunch of ugly pods. But if you sit and wait, you will watch a remarkable transformation take place. These pods actually pop and out of the shell emerges a brand-new flower. I can still remember feeling like the pod and longing to become one of those flowers.

Resting devotion 4: The shepherd

Events in life can knock the stuffing out of us. Our inner being gets worn down and we lose our zest for life, a bit like an orange that’s been juiced or eaten, leaving a discarded skin. These words, ‘He restores my soul’ are a wonderful reminder that the Lord, the Great Shepherd, is the one who revives and sustains us.

Resting devotion 5: Divine attention

The Creator of this world cares for human beings more than everything else he has made. That is the deep truth that we can rest in here. Our heavenly Father takes care of His world – he provides, he protects, he watches over; he notices the small details such as a hungry bird. But we are more valuable than any bird and he provides, protects, and watches over us with great care and attention.

Resting devotion 6: Steadiness in uncertainty

The last couple of years have been full of uncertainty and change and we have become adept at pivoting. This is quite wearying. Recently, our son and his wife moved away to a new place with new jobs, new church, new friends, new everything. My daughter-in-law told me how relieved she was that there was a Coles close by: ‘At least, it looks just the same as our old Coles and is familiar’.

Resting devotion 7: Fear

Do you know how often the Bible encourages us not to fear? You could read one encouragement such as this every day for a year – that is at least 365 times! Have you ever wondered why the authors of the bible return to this theme so often?

Resting devotion 8: The open road

Just as the Lord God provided a highway for his people out of Egypt, he will do so again with this new act of deliverance. A highway is a road that is straight, wide, and safe. Highways will take you the most direct route to your destination and you don’t need to worry about navigating dangerous curves or not being able to see what lies ahead.

Resting devotion 9: Abundant benefits

God’s love for us is unfathomable and immeasurable. We know we can’t touch the heavens – our universe extends unendingly. The east and west will never meet. This is how much he loves us. He let his own precious perfect son die for us to pay the price for our flaws, our faults, our failures, our rebellion. Now they are gone. We are forgiven. He won’t treat us as our sins deserve; he won’t accuse us or repay us.

The brokenness of our world is awful and inescapable. When it impacts us personally, it is like we are hurled into a flooded river that surges and gushes and moves forward at a pace that seems unstoppable. It’s hard to breathe, and you can feel as if you will suffocate alone, abandoned in darkness.

I am good at catastrophising and anticipating the worst-case scenario. If my husband gets home late, I have him killed in a car accident and I am at his funeral. This Psalm provides me with an alternative way of thinking about the things that happen in life. I spent a year reading it every week and it changed me. 

Imagine King David – the man who defeated Goliath, a man who is brave and strong, comparing himself to a tottering fence (Ps 62:3). In this moment of vulnerability, he tells his reader that a light touch would bring him toppling down into a heap of rubble. Surely, he could pick himself up and carry on. But no…

This was a moment of grace, during an ordinary routine, given to me by our creator God. Pumpkins had given me a new song to sing.

The God of all grace is not remote and he doesn’t simply delegate to others. He is willing, so to speak, to get his hands dirty.