June 24, 2015 | by: Angela Karum | 2 Comments
Posted in: Identity
Following Jesus can sometimes be exhausting.
When we think about what it means to live the Christian life, usually things like loving your neighbor, serving others and obeying God come to mind. It can seem like a long to-do list of one worthy action after another, while trying to avoid sinning and doing things that we know we shouldn't.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” Matt 11:28-30 (NET)
Rest for your souls.
How welcome and inviting that sounds to a weary heart!
Life is hard, even when we aren’t experiencing a major loss or crisis. But when you don’t want to go home to another strained argument with your spouse, when the doctor’s office calls and the test results aren’t good, when your teen is slamming the bedroom door in your face, when you’re not sure you can handle another sarcastic, insensitive comment from that coworker, when you don’t know how you’re going to get all the bills paid, the burden of life can be very, very heavy. And where is God in all this? Doesn’t He just have more expectations for us to try to meet, with the inevitable shame of failure and His perceived disappointment adding to the burden of our hearts?
What if we have it wrong? What if there is indeed rest for our souls (whatever that even means)? What if there is more to being a Christian than just forgiveness of sins, the promise of strength for the hardships of today and hope of a future in heaven? What if this Jesus we love and follow offers us more than this?
“Come to me….and I will give you rest….Learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart.”
He knows how hard we work to survive, to provide for our loved ones, to be what everyone expects us to be. He sees where we shoved that sadness and grief over a loss so deep we cannot let ourselves feel it or speak of it. He feels the nameless longing for something more that we try to silence with our busy lives. He hears the loud clamor of our fears late in the night when our mind can’t stop churning and our body is tense with panic.
He invites us into His presence to be still. To be safe. To lean back against His strength and breathe. To let our weary heart be seen by One whose gentleness is infinite and whose tender gaze is loving-kindness.
“Silence is one thing – amazing in itself – but stillness is a rare internal quiet, a peace of mind, a rest of the heart, by having found one’s long lost home…in the Soft Presence of God.” –Martha Kilpatrick
Wherever you are right now, whatever load you’ve been carrying…
Relax those tense shoulders.
Lay that heavy load down.
Close your eyes and let yourself just be.
Just be loved.
Let this strong, gentle and humble Jesus give your soul rest.
Angela Karum, mother of two teenagers and Florida resident since 2008, fills her free time hunting treasures in used book stores and sipping Nutella lattes with friends. Her compassionate heart and ready smile belie an adventurous spirit cultivated during her childhood in the Amazon jungle.