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5 women about resting in God

Can we rest in God even when we experience illness, death and demanding life situations? Read about how these five women relate to the theme of this weekend's sister conference.

The theme of the conference is “Rest in God”. Over the weekend, this will be highlighted, discussed, spoken, and sung about when almost 5,800 women from 33 countries gather at the Oslofjord Convention Center. But before the conference gets started, we have asked some of the participants what this means to them. Five personal answers testify that resting in God is a conscious part of being a disciple.

Five women about resting in God

“Shoulders drop several inches”

Mother of two Susi (43) expresses how happy she is to be here after flying for over seven hours.

“I’ve been looking forward to this event so much!”

She talks about how she has found rest by not worrying about what other people think of her.

“I have experienced how wonderfully restful it is to stand before God. Again and again, I find that I am anxious, perhaps because of a desire to maintain some impression or “glossy image” in front of other people. But when I remember that I am dealing with God’s eyes only, and cast all my anxiety on Him, it is as if my shoulders drop several inches.”

Diagnosed with a serious illness: “I could take nothing for granted anymore”

The first evening is filled with buzzing conversations and fires in the fire pits out on the Festival square. There I meet Wenche (48) chatting with a friend from Denmark. When I ask what “rest in God” means to her, Wenche thinks for a moment before answering.

To me, rest simply means peace of heart and mind.”

She explains a little more about what she means: “In every circumstance I come into, big or small, I want to unite with God’s Spirit and His will, because then I feel joy and peace, and an indescribable gratitude floods over me,” she says.

And Wenche found herself in a situation that really put both her faith and rest to the test. She was struck down by a serious illness. This meant that she, who had previously had a hectic, active life, had to slow down completely, both physically and mentally.

Life took on a completely different perspective, I could take nothing for granted anymore. It was as if God opened my eyes in a new way, I could see what every little thing in everyday life meant for my progress.”

Her sickness progressed to such an extent that she had to quit her regular job. All that time, she said, being humble before God made you realize that you can’t do anything by yourself.

But the Holy Spirit is a helper that enlightens me and gives me guidance and comfort, and I became especially thankful for the spiritual companionship I feel with my friends.”

Experiencing serious illness also had an impact on how Wenche viewed her loved ones.

Those around me became so precious and dear, every hour was a gift from God for which I felt great gratitude”, she says, and adds:

So to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have been without this experience, and I still carry that with me.”

Widowed at the age of 58

The crowded foyer is buzzing with life, and we have a chat with Gunnvor. She is 71 years old and has traveled from Molde, a town on the west coast of Norway, to attend the sister’s conference. At the age of just 58, Gunnvor was widowed when her husband died after a period of cancer. She says that for her, the belief that all things can serve you for the best has carried her through life’s various situations:

“For me, resting in God means coming to faith in a living, omnipotent and loving father who is in complete control. He knows exactly what serves me best, and he doesn’t send me tests that I can’t bear.”

Gunnvor felt this in particular during and after her husband’s illness and passing. It was a new situation and a new everyday life to deal with. In this she found comfort in God.

“I have to make an effort to rest from my own works, then I come into God’s guidance and find works that are prepared for me. I know that I shall not be disappointed or put to shame.”

Rest in the midst of life’s bustle

When we meet Britt Inger out at the conference site, we learn that she only had to walk over the road to get to the event.

“I live just 100 yards from the fence at Oslofjord, but you can bet I’m enjoying a weekend off in my suite here,” she says with a big smile.

Britt Inger is 52 years old and has three children who are still in kindergarten and early school age. She is a child and youth worker and works with both children and the mentally disabled. She doesn’t hide the fact that her days and weeks can be busy. But when asked what it means to rest in God, she answers bluntly:

“I have chosen God as my Lord in life, which means that I can give Him responsibility for my life. I can rest in God in the midst of life’s many challenges and trials.”

She goes on to describe how she has found help in the Bible in various situations.

“When I was younger, I often felt insecure and unsure of what others thought and felt about me. I wanted so much to please everyone, but I realized that this was both demanding and actually impossible if I was to be faithful to God and what He wanted me to do.”

She tells how what is written in Peter’s first letter, chapter 4, verse 15, was a great help to her:

“It speaks about not being one who suffers as a busybody in other people’s matters. Being someone who meddles in other people’s affairs is actually put in the same category as being a thief, murderer and wrongdoer. To worry about what others think and believe is to suffer as someone who meddles in other people’s affairs. Whether they think well or whether they think badly is not my business, it is their business. When this verse came alive in my mind’s eye, I became free, I came to rest in God.”

Faith gives me rest

We meet Karete (59) in the lounge. She is sitting with a group of friends on this first evening, and they all agree that their expectations for the weekend are high.

“When you ask what ‘rest in God’ means to me, I think of a verse in a song; ‘Only by faith can our strivings be ended’,” says Karete.

The verse is from song number 274 in the songbook The Ways of the Lord.

“And that’s exactly how I feel, faith gives me rest. My longing is to believe God’s word exactly as it is written, never to doubt, which I know brings peace, rest, joy and all that is good.”

Karete also has a recommendation for others who want to find rest in God. She found it in a book she read recently:

“I would recommend reading something written in Johan Oscar Smith’s collected writings. There are some excerpts from testimonies by him from 1934. Both the verses he quotes and the words he says there have been a great comfort to me.”

In response to Karete’s encouragement, we share the verses and extracts she refers to:

Testimony by Johan Oscar Smith, October 1934

Ephesians 1, 1-12 and 4, 11-16.

“Do nothing out of compulsion or because of pressure but do what the Spirit compels you to do against your own will. Do the works that God prompts you to do. Stand quietly and firmly and still where God has placed you. That is where you will grow. Take heed that you do not sin; then no one will be able to move you. Simply shun sin and keep the law; keep the commandments. Then there is no limit to the tasks God can give you.”

“It is the Word that gives us rest—that is if we believe it. Today, wherever you are, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. Trees stand where they are planted. Coming out of rest is the same as being destroyed. Even if your mind is only a tiny bit out of Christ, you will notice that you come out of rest. If you desire rest, then be content with your lot. When the Spirit is not working in you, sit down at once and keep quiet.”

“If you want to have rest, then believe God’s Word; melt together with it, suffer, and be at rest in your spirit during the whole process. If you take on something outside of what God works in you to do, then you are outside of rest, at odds with rest, and you must immediately draw back into Christ in order to come into rest.”

“How do we come to God’s works? We have to be completely quiet. Then He works in us to will and to do. These works cannot be done by anyone else. Only you can do the works that are meant to bring balance to your life. The works you are to do are written in your heart and your mind. You must rest from all your own works, and you must do God’s works. If you can find them, you are blessed; you are an independent person in Christ.”

(J.O.S. October 1934)

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