In the Lord? In these days of constant motion, when our minds are bombarded with information every hour of every day; that can be easier said than done. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-29 “ Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”.
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Rest for your souls. Ahhhh. Makes me think of being in the mountains or on the beach. In nature with no people around. And yes that is a wonderful kind of rest. The only problem with that, is we might be in the perfect, quiet, restful spot but that doesn’t necessarily mean that our mind is at rest, or our soul.
Jesus isn’t talking about a ten minute coffee break kind of a rest, or even a week’s vacation kind of a rest. He’s not saying, OK, you had your break now get back to worrying! No, this is the kind of rest that we can have, even in the midst of all the turmoil around us. In the midst of financial problems or family problems or sickness.
I think its the kind of rest where we have given Him our burdens, given Him our cares and our concerns so we don’t have to carry them alone anymore. Jesus says, when we come to Him, He will give us rest.
Its the kind of rest where we are trusting in the Lord with all our hearts. Where we believe that those things He has promised to do; He will do. We don’t have to worry about it, or try to figure it out anymore. We can just rest in Him.
So many people have stress related illnesses today. It’s no surprise. Not only do we have stress related to our own lives, jobs and families but with the internet and the constant flow of information; we quickly hear about all the bad things happening in the world and all the evil going on. When we are focusing on all of that, it’s no wonder we are all stressed out!
The Lord is well aware of all that is going on in the world. It is not news to Him. There has been evil in the world since Adam and Eve ate the apple. As it says in Ecclesiastes “There is nothing new under the sun”. We may think the world is the worst its ever been. Maybe in some ways that is true. But look back over history or Bible stories to see the things people have dealt with in the past. Wars, plagues, famines, slavery, throwing Christians to the lions, evil rulers; I could go on and on. The Lord was with His people then as He is with us now. Malachi 3:6 states:” For I am the Lord, I change not”. The Word of the Lord remains forever. In Psalm 37:7 we are told: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm”. Guess what? A lot of that harm that’s caused is to us.
With all the fretting and arguing going on these days we should look different to the world. We have the peace of God that Jesus left for us-John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”. We can rest in the Lord, trusting that His plan will come to pass and that He will take care of us; no matter what is going on in the world.
We aren’t so silly as to think that we are going to go through life with no problems, right? After all Jesus said
He has already overcome the world! There’s something we can rest on! When we have taken heart, we are walking in peace and resting in God; there’s no stopping us! We don’t have to waste our time and energy on those things that we are trusting God for; so we can spend our time doing what we are called to do, and being who God made us to be. And how about we throw some of the joy of the Lord into the mix too?
When we are resting in the Lord, that is what our life is supposed to be like. We can get up and be excited to find out what the Lord has for us for that day. What are His plans for us for the day? His plans are always good.
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life not resting in the Lord. Oh, I may have thought I was. Or thought that yes, I had given Him my problems and I knew He would take care of them. But I wasn’t resting in the Lord. Not really. Very often if someone in my family or one of my loved ones was going through something, I would feel guilty and think; well how can I go out and enjoy my life when this person is going through this? Like me not enjoying my life would change their problems in any way.
Yes, we have to carry each others burdens. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. But we have to live our own lives as well. Jesus said in John 10:10b “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”.
I’m learning how to do that. Enjoying my life in the midst of problems. Appreciating and being thankful for every good gift from the Lord. Each new day is a gift. Learning to have the joy of the Lord even when things aren’t perfect, and when I’m waiting for things to come to pass. Most importantly sticking close to Jesus. Keeping my eyes and ears open; to be ready to see or to hear what He might say. And of course, learning to rest…in Him.