Matthew 11: 28-30
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
I am somewhat hesitant to approach a portion of Scripture that is very well-known and memorized by many, as our tendency is to “tune-out” when we read something familiar. Yet, as I read this passage, something stood out to me that I really have not spent time exploring as I should.
I cannot begin to count the times I have cried out for rest for my weary soul. I am tired – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Some days, I am beyond that; I am absolutely exhausted. Every part of me is drained. I long for rest – not just a nap or a good cry, but I desire pure rest.
These moments of exhaustion usually occur after a season of extreme busyness or an intense trial. Truthfully, what generally happens is I get busy trying to “fix” things. I am a “fixer.” I want so desperately to help people that I can easily become frazzled trying to “fix” their problems. Generally, I make a huge mess of things and then spend time fretting and fussing over smallest issues in my own life. It is at this moment that I cry out to the Lord for rest. Let’s face it: by this point I am blubbering to the Lord, begging for answers, for peace, for rest.
I am pretty good at calling out to the Lord. I UGLY cry to God when things in my life spiral out of control because I have finally realized that I should have given them to His capable hands to begin with. Why do I find myself here over and over again? I am certain my pride is the reason I got here to begin with, but why is there this continual visitation to this place called Weary? Why do I have a standing date with Frazzled?
Enter Matthew 11:28-30
When I cry out to God, what am I pleading for? Well, usually, I am begging for rest. I want Him to lighten my “burden,” help me carry my “load.” Why ask Him? Because HE CAN! At the end of these verses, He promises rest, a light burden, an easy yoke. Why is it then, that I pray and cry and cry and pray, yet I can still end up at this lovely little town called Weary? Up to this morning I would have given a trite little list including doubt, pride, fear, etc. This morning was different. This morning I actually read what our Lord is saying here. (I know, ridiculously simple, right? I didn’t claim to be a genius.) I do not have rest for my soul because I will not obey God’s plan.
First, He tells me to come. I think I am pretty good at coming. I mean really, there are tear-stains on pillows, the sofa, the easy chair that show evidence of my coming. Or do they? Am I really coming? Why am I really here? Because I have nowhere else to go? Is it because I am really bad at using the telephone and texting this to my bestie makes me sound neurotic? Am I here because I believe He has the answers? Am I here because I am ready to lay down my will for His? Am I here because I am at the end of my rope and maybe I will give this a “try”? Crying out and coming are not the same thing.
Let me give an example. I have a friend who is going through a fiery trial. Her life has just been turned upside down. I text her to let her know I am praying for her. I may even opt to send her flowers or drop off a meal. These are very nice gestures and should be utilized. However, these are no replacement for my coming to her. Flowers do not replace my holding her while she weeps. A pizza does not say “I am here for you,” like my coming to the house and physically praying with her. My coming shows that her heart is more important than my “agenda.” My coming requires effort and maybe a bit of a sacrificing of my own will.
This is a somewhat lame example when compared to the very heart of our Lord, yet this is what I think of by “coming.” When He says, “Come unto me,” this is what I picture. I picture my coming and laying my agenda at His capable feet. I picture my weeping in His lap as He cradles me in His arms rocking me, gently filling me with His grace. When I “come,” I must do so in humility. I cannot come to Him in my way, on my terms, and expect to get the result I want. I must come sacrificing my will.
Next, He tells me to take His yoke. Many are willing to come. We may be willing to lay down our wills, but few are willing to take on His. (Usually, I end up picking my will up once again because I refuse to submit to His.) He has a specific plan He wants me to follow. He wants me to trust Him. He wants me to let His Spirit do the work without my “help.” He wants me to lay down this martyr-attitude I am quick to clothe myself with and take on His burden. His burden is lighter, but interestingly, it encompasses more. You see, my burdens are usually a bit self-focused, or maybe they tend to be earthly-focused. His burden has a much bigger picture in mind. My burdens are wearisome and heavy and miserable. His burden is easy and light and strangely restful because it is just that: His burden, not mine. He knows the end of every situation. He has the power to control all things. His burden is lighter for me because I don’t have to spend time analyzing it or fretting over it; I simple get to trust it.
Lastly, and this is where I think most of us fail to complete the steps towards rest, I am to learn of Him. I am not just talking about filling a notebook with sermon notes or “devotional” scribblings or hanging Scripture prints on the wall. This is more than just parroting clichés about God and His goodness. This is bigger than mindlessly repeating verses in an effort slap a band aid on my current pain. None of these are bad things, but they do in no way compensate for a failure to learn of Him. When I learn of Him, His desire becomes my desire. His delight is my delight. His heart is my heart. I find grace that is abundant for every situation. I will become meek and lowly because I will know nothing but to be so. The sweetness of His person will make all else seem putrid. This is a transformation of heart, not the “Power of positive thinking” I so often try to apply to my current circumstance.
He promises rest. He promises the rest I so desperately seek if I will come, take His yoke, and learn. I can learn from the One Who knows the Father. I can know the Father because He is revealed to me in His Son. I can know the Son because the Spirit draws me to Him. I can learn from the Only One Who has the answers to my heart’s cry. He is never frazzled. He never frets. He is always in a place of perfect peace.