“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.” (Matt 11:28 – 30)
While praying ardently one night with the desire to hear God’s voice, I stopped to listen. Unfortunately I didn’t hear anything. Continuing to listen expectantly, I finally heard a small inner voice tell me: “Wait and listen!”
Though I was trying to hear a voice from above, I was made aware instead of a single toad croaking out a beautiful noise of absolute rest and peace. It filled my heart with peace.
Next I heard a distant train, blowing its horn to ward off any upcoming traffic. It was loud! It was menacing! But the toad though never stopped croaking. The trials of life were unimportant to him. He continued to incessantly proclaim his message of rest and peace.
God obviously wanted me to notice this. Even amidst the worst adversities, I can experience absolute inner rest and peace. It’s up to me whether or not I trust in Jesus.
Rest from God is not provided to us only once in a lifetime. Neither is it only available once a week. Rather, His promise of rest is for every day, every hour, every minute, every second. Our relationship with God is also not restricted to church services or even to reading His Word. God’s companionship is constant. He never abandons us (See Mat 28:20)!
Unfortunately we can’t always say the same about ourselves.
Jesus’ rest goes way beyond the imagination. The Jewish people who had received the Sabbath rest never really enjoyed it. They piled on so many rules and regulations that it became a burden to them. What was intended to be a blessing turned into an encumbrance. Rest is truly a utopia in this world!
Jesus goes way beyond all of this. We have the opportunity to individually experience real rest at the feet of the One who is Lord of the Sabbath. We are invited to come with all of our weariness and all of our heavy burdens and lay them at the feet of Jesus. In return He gives us real rest, rest that reaches into the innermost parts of our souls.
The problem with us as humans is that we have a hard time letting go of our worries, concerns, and hardships. After all these concerns belong to us! So many amongst us wander around, wondering if rest is truly possible.
This is where verse 29 comes into full effect: “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.”
We have the opportunity to learn from Jesus. He is the only One who can teach us how to lay down these precious burdens and learn from Him what real rest means. A yoke in Jesus’ days after all, was a device that taught new cows how to have an easy harvest. The older cow would be the one who would pull most of the load, as he was leading. The young one only needed to follow along, and it didn’t seem like he was bearing a burden at all, because the older one carried it all. It is the same with Jesus. If we are willing to let Him take care of our worries and burdens, that is!
If only we would leave these precious burdens at His feet. If only we would be willing to learn from Him. We would quickly realize that rest is really quite simple. Jesus honors every promise He makes after all, but this one is especially special.
Rest for an hour or a day is no rest at all. True rest lasts forever in the arms of the One who spread them wide on a rugged cross, so that we could experience what He promised.
This message of peace and rest is still being broadcasted all over the world. Will you take Him up to it?
(To access the entire “Restful Repose” devotional series, please click here.)