The Perfect Pillow – Theology Essay
I am on a quest for the perfect pillow. My philosophy is that the kind of pillow one uses determines, to a large degree, the quality of rest one has. So, I have been on a quest for the perfect pillow. I have tried numerous pillows on my quest. I know how Goldilocks must have felt at the three bear’s home. “This one is too hard.
This one is too soft! And this one is just right!” My wife likes a gigantic pillow about 18 inches thick. But it leaves me with a stiff neck. A “down” filled pillow feels good initially, but collapses in the middle before the night is done. I have tried a bone shaped pillow, a foam filled pillow, an air filled pillow, and a wedge shaped pillow. But my quest for the perfect pillow continues.
The patriarch, Jacob was running for his life. His brother, Esau, threatened to kill him for cheating him out of his birthright. Alone in the desert he slept under the twinkling stars and used a stone for a pillow. He must have had a hard head. For Jacob, it was the perfect pillow. As Jacob went to sleep, he had a dream of a stairway to heaven. Angels went up and down on it. At the top of the stairway, Jacob saw the Lord who announced, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham . . . The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I will give it to you and your descendants . . . I will be with you and protect you wherever you go” (Genesis 28 NLT).
Although he did not realize it at the time, Jacob was on a quest for rest. It was more than repose from fatigue, exertion, and work. It is the realization of joy, peace, and harmony in stillness. This stillness is “the state of experiencing God’s presence in which there is no strife, no fighting, no fear, and no distrust.”
Consider how Jacob discovered the perfect pillow of rest. First, Jacob came to a place of TRUST. Jacob took his stone pillow, turned it on end, and made a memorial table out of it. He poured olive oil on it and worshipped God. Jacob saw the Lord. The Holy Spirit will enable you to see God working in your past, your present circumstances, and a vision of what God wants to do in your life. Jacob trusted God’s promise to be with him, protect him, and bless him. (See Genesis 28:10-19.)
My wife and I were blessed and refreshed as we visited our friend’s Ron and Jane in Florida recently. In my quest, I tried out their guest room pillow. Jane remarked that many times when she is tired or anxious, she hugs her pillow before going to sleep at night and prays – “Lord Jesus, I trust in you.” She has found the perfect pillow. Corrie ten Boom was fond of saying to those encountering the storms of life – “Don’t wrestle, jest nestle.” Rest in the Lord. (See Psalm 37, Proverbs 3:5, 6, and Hebrew 4:11.)
Second, Jacob TOOK TIME TO WORSHIP. He vowed to make the memorial pillar a place for worshipping God. (See Genesis 28:22.) The Psalmist David later declared, “I will not let my eyes sleep nor close my eyelids in slumber until I find a place to build a house for the Lord, a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Israel . . . Let us go to the dwelling place of the Lord; let us bow low before Him” (Psalm 132:3-9). Daily worship of God will bring you into a place of rest – the glorious, refreshing, presence of God. (See Isaiah 28:1, 12, John 4:23-24.)
Third, Jacob vowed that he would TITHE A TENTH of everything God blessed him with, to the Lord. (See Genesis 28:29.) Jacob could go to sleep with a clear conscience because he was not robbing God. (See Malachi 3:6-10.) Tithing a tenth of your income affirms who is in control of your life and whom you trust in. (See Romans 12:1-2.)
When crowds thronged around Jesus and men requested to follow him, Jesus replied, “The foxes have holes and the birds have nests but the Son of man has no place to lay his head’ (Matthew 8:20). Many became offended at that statement and left Jesus. After all, who wants to follow a “loser”? But Jesus offers the perfect pillow – rest for your soul.
Jesus is the Master of the storms and waves that assault our daily lives. One day the disciples and Jesus started across the lake in a little boat. A storm blew up, swamping the boat with waves of water and wind. The disciples were terrified. Jesus was asleep on a pillow in the stern. They shook Jesus awake, crying out, “Don’t you care that we perish?” Jesus rebuked the wind and it was instantly calm. He then questioned their lack of faith. Jesus had the perfect pillow – His trust in His Heavenly Father. (See Matthew 8:23-27.)
After reading a newspaper report of a new plan to conserve land by burying people vertically rather than in the traditional horizontal position, an elderly lady came to her pastor. “Don’t let them bury me standing up,” she demanded. “My feet have hurt me all my life.”
We may laugh, but we all want to be free form anxiety and distress. Must we wait until our funeral to rest in peace? My quest for the perfect pillow has ended. Our quest is for rest. Jesus offers the perfect pillow – Himself.
“I will lie down in peace and sleep for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4:8). Jesus invites you – “Come unto me . . . I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).