Compose and Repose
—Enter into Rest
By Virginia Brandt Berg
Download Audio (7.2MB)
Today we’re living in such a time of pressure. I hear that word so much. I do quite a bit of counseling, and so many people come to me and say, “Oh, I’m under such pressure. I can hardly stand it; the pressures are so great.” That’s true. We’re living in a time of such busyness, such rush! We hear the word “busy” so constantly that we almost grow weary of it. It seems to be an excuse for everything. Everybody is in this awful hurry and flurry!
Words such as “rest,” “quiet,” “stillness,” and “solitude” seem to have disappeared out of life. Everywhere the streets are crowded with rushing cars and screeching tires. Why? Because everyone is hurrying so fast, they must get to where they’re going; and they’ve got to get there in a hurry.
It’s like the man who hired a new chauffeur, and the chauffeur drove through the streets as fast as he could go. Then when he got to the destination, the man just sat in the back seat of the car and waited. He said to the chauffeur, “What are you going to do with the five minutes that you saved by rushing like that? What did you think I wanted to do with those five minutes? Now I’m just going to sit here and relax!”
It’s really a problem when people tell you about the strain they’re under and you can see that strain on their faces. You try to talk to them about stopping a minute and getting quiet, and as Jesus said, “Come apart and rest a while.”1
The old song “Take Time to Be Holy”2 is precious, but you hardly ever hear it anymore. Perhaps because it’s so inconsistent with the way we live.
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
As I read these words, I got quiet in my own spirit, and I began to realize as I was in this quiet state that so much of the jar and hurry of this restless pace of such stress and pressure had gotten into my own soul. But I can tell you that I know the remedy; I’ve tried it so many times, I know where I can find repose.
I was looking in Webster’s dictionary for the difference in meaning between the words “repose” and “compose.” Webster’s says that “compose” means “to bring the body or mind to a condition of repose, calmness and quietness.” And “repose,” Webster’s says, is “to be at peace; in a dignified calmness.”
That sounds awfully good, but how are you going to get there? I know the remedy for that, but how are people going to find that repose when they’re on the run and in a rush all the time? I don’t think they can!
Such a remedy will take all that strain out of your spirit and that awful unrest from your mind and the tension from your body. When I get alone to take time in God’s presence, when I read His Word and search the Scriptures, and search my own heart and spend time in prayer, there is restored the peace that He promises, the sweet rest that He gives, and the repose that only God can give.
Many people today have to take some kind of tranquilizer to calm them down. I read of a man that came rushing home from work and said to his wife, “I’m nearly wild with all that happened in the office today! I’ve been under such strain, such tension, that I can hardly stand it! Give me one of those pills to compose me, to calm me down.”
She gave him the pill, but just about that time the phone rang and he was ordered to come back to the office; a very important customer was ready to give a big order, and he was to come back immediately. And he said to his wife, “Where are those pep pills? I’ve got to have one!” She said, “You just took a pill to calm you down, now you want a pill to pep you up?!” That’s the way it is today—take one medication to pep you up and one to calm you down.
The pressures today are many, and some people have no other recourse. But the Christian does; the Christian has quiet time, the time of meditation before God where they can find rest. The Christian has that which can cool the fever of this awful rush.
I want to share some scriptures that show the reality of this. In Numbers 9:8: “Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you.”
In 1 Samuel 9:27: “As they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on … but stand thou still a while, that I may show thee the word of God.”
In 1 Samuel 12:7: “Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord of all the righteous acts of the Lord, which he did to you and to your fathers.”
And then in Job 37:14: “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.”
In Psalm 4:4: “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.”
And Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen.”
Such wonderful verses from God’s Word! If only we would enter into this quiet place. Seek God’s presence, read His Word that He may refresh your soul and clarify your thoughts and take the strain out of your life. Some people think it’s a waste of time to stop to meditate and pray, yet millions through the ages have found that only in the presence of God could they find rest and peace.
Prayer makes available the power of God that can take all the strain out of life. Won’t you think about it? Won’t you go to the Lord? His Word says, “They who have believed have entered into rest.”3 But that resting place comes only through faith in God, and faith comes by reading God’s Word4 and getting quiet in prayer before Him.
God’s Word says, “There remaineth a rest for the people of God,”5 but you don’t have to wait for heaven to get that rest! You can have it right now. God’s Word says, “Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.”6 May the dear Lord bless you and bring you into His place of perfect peace. Amen.
From a transcript of a Meditation Moments broadcast, adapted. Published on Anchor March 2021. Read by Carol Andrews.
1 Mark 6:31.
2 “Take Time to Be Holy,” by William D. Longstaff, 1882.
3 Hebrews 4:3.
4 Romans 10:17.
5 Hebrews 4:9.
6 Isaiah 26:3.