Last night I was driving to Bible study after working on the post you are about to read…a post that has been sitting in my draft box for a long time.
My mind was consumed with the scriptures that I have been pondering for the last month. I guess that is why this year has been about savoring and soaking in God’s Word.
Anyway, as I was driving, car after car that passed while I was waiting at a stop light had car top carriers. Something that I see very often but it struck me differently this time.
The purpose of a car top carrier is to carry what the interior of the car cannot. Whatever extra you are desiring to carry either is too large, too much or perhaps even an awkward shape to fit within the confines of a vehicle.
It made me think of us…carrying around things that are too large…too much…much too awkward to reside within us. This can be burdens or it can just be plain baggage. It’s not supposed to be this way.
Life is hard.
Sometimes there is just no other words to describe life but just that…hard.
I know that I am not the only one that feels this way either and perhaps that is why it seems so all-encompassing currently.
Just in the last few days, four people who I love have been in the hospital and only one of them was planned. I know others that have financial hardships, parenting challenges, or very little rest for the weary.
I just feel the suffering all around me…the lack of answers and the plain exhaustion of the daily grind. I have no wisdom…I don’t have a peppy slogan…I don’t have large enough bandaids…this is a time where praying without ceasing is not too difficult because there are so many needs…but I do know something that is true…this is where the scripture that has taken up residency in my spirit charges in like a knight on a white horse:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11: 28-30
I have meditated over these verses for quite a while. I have read them in several versions and what continues to stand out is:
- Jesus wants us to come to Him…He invites us to be with Him.
- Jesus knows that we are going to have a life that is hard…a life that is strewn with burdens.
- Jesus says He will give us rest.
- Jesus says that we will find rest for our souls.
- Jesus is big enough to carry each one of our burdens and still consider it light work.
What has impacted me as I have stared at these verses…these verses that are so familiar to so many of us…is that the word rest is used twice in these verses.
When I looked up the Greek words…as best as I can see, they are forms of the same word but they have a subtle difference in meaning.
Jesus beckons to us to come to Him…the invitation is to all that are weary and burdened.
If you feel like your name should be weary or burdened this is for you.
Just come and He will give you rest…that is all that is required…just come.
This type of “rest” is a verb and is defined like this:
*to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength.
*to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest.
*to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation.
When life is hard…just come…to Jesus…He will give you rest…a time to stop moving so that you can regain your strength…so you can go back out into that big bad world.
I think of Caleb when I think of this type of rest. There are days where he just comes apart at the seams…everything seems to be going wrong in his six-year-old body…those are the days that he just comes to me, he doesn’t have to say a word or explain what is wrong. I just sit with him, cuddle with him, he lays his head on my chest and just rests…until he can stand again. Oh there will be bumps and bruises and disappointments to come his way again…but for now…I have given him rest…permission to cease moving.
Sleeping, resting, lounging, relaxing…are all verbs…they are all actions…even though they seem passive. Two actions combined.
The second use of the word “rest” is a noun and is defined in this way:
**intermission, cessation of any motion, business, labor.
**rest, recreation, a temporary respite (e.g. of soldiers).
At first I thought that this rest is a thing. Actually this rest is spiritual and is all about a Person, a place and a thing.
When we give the Lord our burdens, we become yoked to Him…we let Him take the weight.
Jesus…that’s the Person.
Yoke…that’s the place.
Rest…that’s the thing.
The rest that we find when we surrender our control and let Him take our burdens is a rest that we find inhabits our souls. It’s a deep down rest that permeates our entire being…probably very unexplainable except that it is from Him for us.
When we allow ourselves to be yoked with Jesus, we receive a respite from our burdens…just like a soldier that has been fighting needs a break…so do we.
We can take off our figurative car top carriers and let Jesus carry all the extra-large and odd-shaped burdens for us.
My friend MJ reminded me that to be yoked is to join an older experienced ox to young ox. The young ox gets to observe the older one.
When we allow ourselves to be yoked with the Lord we get to learn about Him…that is learning at close range.
I think there are times in my life that I do the first part…I come to Him and get some rest…some perspective and I quickly leave strapping my burden back on my car.
Jesus wants me to experience both…He wants me to come to Him…get some rest. He wants me to let Him carry the weight of my hardships by being yoked together.
So here I am…by Jesus’ side…yoked to Him…learning from Him and it is here that I find rest…a temporary respite…and is it possible…recreation as well?
I feel that I am experiencing this more and more in my life. There are days that those burdens are still present yet not in my hands but in His. I believe that is why this rest can be called an intermission…it is the midpoint…not the end necessarily. I focus on Him and I have joy and peace and it is as if I have taken a mini vacation away from the problem. I don’t have to be fussing around the burden because I know that it is His to bear.
It is fascinating to me…but it is fascinating because it is Jesus…the gentle and humble one.
This scripture is another reminder to stay close to the Savior. Where else can we go when life seems to be tossing us curve balls?
Come to Him…
Take His Yoke…
Learn from Him…
May you experience the full measure of the rest that the Lord has for you as you walk through the hard things in life. May you remove all the luggage you weren’t intended to carry…give it to Jesus.
This song has been such a special song to me during those tiring unending days…
On a personal note, as I finish typing this, my grandmother is back in the hospital…I would so appreciate your prayers…