Just to Sit in God’s Presence

By on June 1, 2011

By Katherine Swarts –

It’s estimated that 47 million adults in the United States–and as many as 40 percent of children–suffer from sleep deprivation. Overcrowded schedules that get people up early and keep them up late are usually blamed, but that’s only part of the story. It’s quite possible to spend eight or even nine hours in bed every night and still be sleep-deprived, and it’s also possible to have only a few hours of literal sleep and still be adequately rested. A body that never rests, physically or emotionally, while conscious will have a harder time falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting the most out of sleep.

Many people’s idea of “rest” is blacking out from utter exhaustion. That’s not a Biblical definition. When God gave the command to rest from work one day a week, He didn’t say that the day was to be spent in bed. It’s quite likely He hoped His people would keep the same number of actual waking hours as on work days, which is what modern medical experts recommend for optimal health, despite the tradition of “sleeping late on Sundays.” The sort of rest that was to be observed on the Sabbath involved learning to love God and others better: worshiping, enjoying nature, watching the world go by, light meals and pleasant talk with friends.

It’s sad that Judeo-Christian history has repeatedly twisted God’s rest time into a long list of “don’t do this, don’t do that.” It’s even sadder that we fail to do any resting of the above kind except on our days off, if then. Like Martha, we try so hard to please the Lord through what we do for Him that we can’t hear Him urging us to just sit and talk with Him for a while–and we even scold our sisters and brothers for being “lazy” when they decide to take in a little quiet time while there’s still work to be done.

It’s wonderful if we go to church every Sunday (and to bed every night); but if we have no personal time with God during the week, chances are we’ll be in no condition to give Him our attention during the service. It takes considerably less than “seven days without God” to make “one weak.”

There’s time in this world for labor,
And time in this world for fun:
But just to sit in God’s presence
Is a gift like no other one.

Make space in your heart for Scripture,
Make space in your heart for creeds:
But just to savor God’s presence
Will supply a great host of needs.

To go to your prayer in duty
Is better than not at all:
But oh, how endlessly sweeter
To respond in love to His call!

Published with permission from author.  Original post can be found at:  It’s estimated that 47 million adults in the United States–and as many as 40 percent of children–suffer from sleep deprivation….

About Katherine Swarts

Katherine Swarts is a poet and inspirational writer from Houston, Texas. Her self-published poetry book Where Light Dawns: Christian Poems of Hope for Hurting Hearts (the first volume in a planned series) was “written for naturally gloomy types like myself who are tired of ‘cheer up’ talk and need the comfort of ‘God does love you’ encouragement.” The poems in the book come from Katherine’s blog at http://newsongsfromtheheart.blogspot.com; contact Katherine at [email protected] for ordering information.

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Just to Sit in God’s Presence