Jesus said Come to me and I will give you rest.
After I read that, I think, Oh that’s nice. And then I move on to the next verse, the next chapter. For me, and many others, I think, rest is what comes after a busy day, when our heads finally hit the pillow.
But is that the kind of rest Jesus was talking about?
I will confess; I am deeply and franticly addicted to the To-Do List. I am not an organized soul by nature, but it seems functioning properly in life requires some method of organization. So I program my days and tasks the only way I know how; by making lists. (This is no lie: one day last week, I actually found myself making a list… of lists I needed to make!)
I do this when I have my quiet time, too. Planning and attempting to organize slowly pervades all areas of my life, and I begin making spiritual To-Do lists. It was during one of these feverish list-making sessions that God breathed over me those words… Come to me and I will give you rest. I want to give you rest, child, He said. Not another list.
My pen stopped its frenzied scribbling and I looked out the window from my cross-legged position on my bed. It was early morning, and the winter sun was slowly glimmering up through cold, barren trees. “But Lord…” I protested, “I just woke up. I’ve had my rest. Although I wouldn’t mind a little more…”
But I knew. As my fingers slowly began to thumb through past entries in my journal, I saw plea after desperate plea… and I knew what He was talking about.
I’m so tired. Physically and emotionally and mentally…
There’s nothing left inside. I need to be filled up, but instead I just keep pouring out.
Sleep is my favorite; I can escape responsibility and subsequent failure.
I’m quiet, inside and out. But not in a good way.
Page after page of my messy scrawl held the signs of spiritual exhaustion that I didn’t know how to cure. I had been planning a spiritual retreat – alone – but that wouldn’t be possible until spring.
I want to give you rest now.
It was as if my ears were hearing these words for the first time. Or maybe this time, they actually meant something to me. For rest means nothing to those who have never been soul-tired. Our spirits begin to crave a real and deep rest, totally unaffected by the hustle and bustle around us.
“Oh Lord,” My heart cried, “Give me rest. Rest from these iron expectations, these comfortably-padded chains. Give me rest from myself!”
Jesus reached near that morning, imploring me to slow down for just a moment so He could give me rest from the pressure, the guilt, the constant pouring out. Amazingly, He comes to each of us in a different way, amidst our own absurd circumstances… and presents a stunning offer:
Total and complete rest for the soul, and a burden that is light.
How could we not take Him up on it?
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”
– Matthew 16:26a
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
– Matthew 11:28 – 29
By Abbie, Abbie Writes