Tuesday May 26, 2009
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28.
The question that arises when reading this verse is: What is rest? Mostly we think of rest as cessation of activity, or at least a change in routine that provides much needed R and R. If this is the rest we expect from Jesus we may be disappointed.
Even at a time when life is moving mostly as it should, there are those “down” times, when little or nothing gets accomplished, or things go wrong and set us back. Those days are not rare; they seem to be a natural part of life. On reflection it may be that the down days are a reminder that we need to rest—yes, the R and R type!—to recoup and recharge for the days ahead. As Elijah ran from Jezebel (1 Kings 19) God left him to sleep and told him to eat in preparation for his journey. Sometimes, the most spiritual thing we can do is sleep!
A deeper rest is freedom from the anxiety provoked when every effort we made fails to provide for some critical need of life. As hard work drains our strength, so constant emotional effort saps the spirit and the greatest emotional strain is worry. When we have done all we can, what then? The rest Jesus gives is rest from anxiety. To know him and his care means that we can safely leave with him that which we cannot do ourselves; that he will work with us to accomplish his will in our situation—even if that is different from what we expect. To rest in him means that we are content with wherever he leads, because we know that he will never leave us or forsake us.