Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
The Vikings of Scandinavia achieved world-renown in the 8th century. They were skilled navigators who didn't think twice about leaving their homes for faraway destinations, and it was they who discovered Iceland, Greenland, and even Canada, making landfall in Newfoundland!
Initially Viking voyages were peaceful in nature. They generally traveled from Spring to Fall, trading for gold, silk, spices, and wine. Unfortunately, peace is so easily forgotten. The Vikings eventually gained renowned as bloodthirsty barbarians who had no respect for lives. Why? Because the peaceful trading missions were not enough! In 793 A.D. they plundered an English monastery, which provided them with unheard treasures, and motivated them to continue their plunder all over Europe!
Even though the Vikings were considered barbarians, they were actually quite sophisticated. Who else in Europe in those times washed themselves at least once a week? At least they were less smelly than most men in Europe!
God's creative work was also designed with complete peace and rest in mind: "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." (Genesis 2:2-3, NIV2)
Even though man had just been created on the 6th day, and thus had hardly no time to learn the meaning of the word "work" (Besides, work in paradise is quite different from the stressful work we know nowadays!), man's first day on Earth was spent in a day of rest with His Maker.
Interestingly enough, unlike the first 6 days where "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day." (Genesis 1:31), there is no mention of any evening nor morning during this day of Sabbath rest. Is it possible that God had planned for us a restful "repose" (French for "rested", "completely relaxed") from that day onward? This wouldn't surprise me at all, for God has fore-planned a restful "repose" for us for eternity, once we reach heaven.
That kind of rest is available even today. Jesus is truly our rest (See Matt 11:28). The only problem is that we often get in the way. We like to be in control, and as long as we hold on to the reins, rest will be no more than an unattainable vapor. It is often too late when we realize that we are the most vulnerable when we are "in charge". But something happens when we declare and fully endorse that Jesus is our Lord: We find ourselves relieved from our burdens and our worries!
We have other options than anxiety and worry. Discover God's wonderful promise of real rest! Even Vikings are no match for God!
Dear Lord, help us to rest fully in You. Help us not let the stress of this world and the things in our life rob us of the rest we need. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.