Friday, August 22, 2014

Rest For Weary, Burdened Souls

Jesus said, "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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).

It rained yesterday and into the morning. I spent a lot of time troubleshooting computer problems. In between I read the relentless news: a crisis on the streets of a St. Louis suburb, a heroic American journalist beheaded by the ferocious "Islamic State" in Syria, and in the "borderlands" almost due north of the Levant, rumors of the Russian military crossing into Ukraine. Wars, and rumors of wars.

Jesus said, "I will give you rest...."


Our weariness and our burdens are heavy. But He is "gentle and humble in heart." The "rest" and "ease" that He promises do not necessarily coincide with physical or psychological or emotional relief. It's about the heart. It's a promise for our hearts.

It's a promise for my heart.

I feel weary and burdened, and also rather pathetic because I am laid low even within the comforts of my own home. After all, I'm not a refugee in the desert. I have not been bombed, or taken prisoner. But I know something of what it feels like to be helpless. To be afraid. And I know there is a secret suffering in every life. In our weakness and our cry to God we have a mysterious solidarity; we are together in our greatest solitude.

That is where Jesus comes to each of us. In that solitude He calls each of us by name. I'm not a hero. I have no courage. Still, He calls me.

Sometimes we must be stilled and silenced by that loneliness so that we can hear His voice, so that we can remember that we have a need to listen.

And He speaks to me with a compassion that reaches me. He understands me. He makes a promise: "You will find rest." He says, "Come to me" and "learn from me."

"Learn from me." Sometimes we are brought back to the place where we remember that we need to learn from Him.

That's what I want to do, and I believe that if I stay with Him I will learn. I believe this, and I trust in Him... even though I forget all the time, I forget He is here, but when I remember Him, I trust. And that trust is already the beginning of a change in my heart.

I know only too well what it's like to be burdened and not know any place to go with my heart. When I trust Him I discover that He is already changing me. I'm not alone. I'm with Him, and my hope is alive. I'm beginning to learn.