by Philip McKibben

One of the fundamental basics of music theory, or the mechanics of music, is the rest. When a musician plays or sings music there are times in every piece where the musician is instructed, by the use of any of several symbols that represent rest, to do nothing.  There are many purposes for these rests.  It might be that there needs to be time for a well needed breath after a long period where the musician has sung or played steadily.  Or possibly, it may be time for another musician within the group to have a solo so that their part can shine through.  It could be that the composer is letting the musician store up energy because of a part that is coming up in the piece where the  musician will be needed to put forth a maximum effort in order for a climactic moment in the song to occur.  Sometimes a writer will use only some of the instruments or voices available to them in order to achieve just the right dynamic, or level of volume.   


Or it could simply be that there needs to be a point in the song where silence needs to happen.  Sometimes silence can be a large and important part of the music. Silence will make you stop and anticipate what is about to happen next.  Silence will sometimes get your attention when no maximum amount of loudness will.  Many times silence can be deafening within the framework of a piece of music.

There are times for musicians when observing a rest can be the most difficult thing for the musician to do.  As a matter of fact, some music teachers will give young musicians fingerings, or positions for their hands on their instruments to use when they are instructed to rest in their music.  Musicians, especially those just learning to play, have a hard time doing nothing…resting, during the middle of a song.

So how does all of this talk about music apply to us during “Pause Week”?    The fact is that all of it is applicable to us as we walk through our lives seeking and following God.  Sometimes we need a rest  after a period in our lives where we have been steadily working hard to follow Him and we just need to breathe.  Or possibly we need to step back and rest so that God’s light can shine brighter through someone else around us.  It could be that God is about to call on us for something big and He wants us to store up our energy so it can be used in a climactic moment for Him.  Sometimes God wants us to rest so the dynamics of our lives will be just right so He can speak to someone else around us.

Or it could be that you are at a point in your life where silence simply needs to happen.  Many times God speaks the loudest through silence.  And those are times when He is truly working in our hearts.  A time of silence in  our lives can give us time to anticipate what God is about to do next in and through us.

There are times when being silent before our God can be the most difficult thing for us to do.  Most of the time the position (fingering) that needs to take place during a rest period is on our knees as we seek to draw closer to our Lord and hear His heart telling our heart what we need to know for the upcoming period of non-rest.  So many of us have great difficulty simply doing nothing…and waiting on Him to restore us and make us ready for what is to come next.


Read Hebrews 4: 1-12 and think about how it applies to your life today. God set the example for us from the beginning of time as even He rested after He finished the creation and He expects His people to do the same.  Verse 9-10 says that “there remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Our God wants us to pause sometimes…it is for our good and His.

  • What was the most favorite time of rest that you have ever had during your life up until now?
  • What are the things that you most need a rest from today?
  • What can you change in you daily life in order to have a time of rest?
  • What steps are you going to take in your life to get the times of rest that God wants you to have?
  • If God set the example to set time aside for rest for Himself, is there any reason why he would not want the same for you?


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