“Come to me, all of you who are tired and worn-out, 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
A couple of years ago, my husband and I decided to explore the Harry Potter world at Universal Studios in Orlando. We got there early in the morning to avoid long lines. As we had left the kids behind at Disney with family, we decided to hit all three of the roller coasters right in a row. About midway through the third coaster, as my head was being banged from side to side and my stomach was lurching up and down, I really wanted to get off the ride! When it was over, I stumbled from the car, looked at my husband and said, “I need to sit down!” 45 minutes and one Butterbeer later, I finally felt more like myself again. But I was definitely done with roller coasters for the rest of the day.
The past few weeks have found me on a different roller coaster of sorts. My mind has been swinging around and around trying to engage, create and problem-solve from several different areas. I’m ready to jump off the ride, but unfortunately, we’re still in the middle!! I needed a brain massage! So, I decided to take my husband’s Sunday sermon advice this morning and spend some time in meditative prayer.
I sat on the little step-stool in the kitchen that is my Bible study spot and bowed my head over my Bible. I worked hard to clear my mind and to focus on the image of the Holy Spirit wrapping itself around me like a snug blanket.
As I floated for a few minutes, pushing aside all thoughts of people and situations I needed to pray over, I heard God asking me, “What do you need?” And the answer that came to me was, rest. The above verses from the book of Matthew floated through my conscious mind like wisps of campfire smoke coming up from the Spirit’s flame in my heart. Come to me. I will give you rest.
The context of this passage is the burden of the Law on the people of Israel. The religious leaders were demanding more than the people could ever possibly give–making all sorts of rules and regulations no human could ever follow completely. Jesus was attempting to simplify things. He was imploring the people not to get caught up in the human rules and regulations of the church and worship. Rather, he said, follow my lead. Love God. Love others.
Jesus is talking about a spiritual rest. That is something we don’t do very well in our noisy, always engaged, frenetic society. We want to go, to move, to do, to achieve until our lives begin to look like a grocery store check-list instead of the beautiful tapestry they were designed to be. That’s not to say we won’t be burdened. Living is HARD WORK. A tapestry doesn’t come together with a few simple stitches. But through it all, we have the gift of God’s presence, God’s love, and God’s grace. It’s hard to see those things, however, when we don’t take time to find rest for our souls.
I don’t know what roller coaster life’s put you on right now. But I want you to know, you’re not alone. We’re all on this crazy behemoth together. And while your brain might hurt from trying to problem-solve, or your heart might ache from grief and pain, or your stomach might be doing flip-flops from anxiety and fear, know that God is right there with you. Know that God longs to give your soul rest. Know that He is right there beside you on this roller-coaster holding your hand. So hang on. Think about your tapestry. God is not interested in checking things off of our life lists. He’s interested in creating a work of art.
“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” Common English Bible
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. Amplified Bible
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Message Bible
Blessings and Peace,