From A Charles Dickens Devotional
A tranquil summer sunset shone upon him as he approached the end of his walk, and passed through the meadows by the river side. He had that sense of peace, and of being lightened of a weight of care, which country quiet awakens in the breasts of dwellers in towns. . . . The rich foliage of the trees, the luxuriant grass diversified with wild flowers, the little green islands in the river, the beds of rushes, the water-lilies floating on the surface of the stream, the distant voices in boats borne musically towards him on the ripple of the water and the evening air, were all expressive of rest. In the occasional leap of a fish, or dip of an oar, or twittering of a bird not yet at roost, or distant barking of a dog, or lowing of a cow—in all such sounds, there was the prevailing breath of rest, which seemed to encompass him in every scent that sweetened the fragrant air. The long lines of red and gold in the sky, and the glorious track of the descending sun, were all divinely calm. Upon the purple tree-tops far away, and on the green height near at hand up which the shades were slowly creeping, there was an equal hush. Between the real landscape and its shadow in the water, there was no division; both were so untroubled and clear, and, while so fraught with solemn mystery of life and death, so hopefully reassuring to the gazer’s soothed heart, because so tenderly and mercifully beautiful. —Little Dorrit
In many of his novels, Charles Dickens wrote of the English countryside as a place of beauty and rest for his characters, a stark contrast to the bustling streets of London and its areas of poverty and filth. We can all use a place, like Dickens’s countryside, where our hearts can find peace and rest.
The Bible speaks well of rest. We find it mentioned first in Genesis, chapter 2: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (v. 2 niv). In His Ten Commandments, God ordered the people to rest: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:9–10 niv). God even said that the land was to have a year of rest (Leviticus 25:4).
Jesus invites us to rest in Him. “Come to me,” He says, “all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus’ invitation is to accept His gift of salvation. For those who do, He offers the ultimate rest— eternal rest for their souls.
And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” – Mark 6:31
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