"I will give you rest."
By Jim Allen
"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." Matthew 11:28-30What did Jesus mean by this? Matthew later writes about the time when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for placing heavy burdens on the backs of the people (Matthew 23). These heavy burdens were the rabbinical laws, a system of works the Lord of Glory never commanded and these holy men never kept. Jesus is contrasting the heavy yoke of law keeping to the easy yoke of believing in Him.
But could Jesus also be talking about other types of heavy burdens (apart from the law) that press down hard on the soul? When Jesus promised rest, was he just talking about the heavy yoke of law keeping? Or, did he have other burdens in mind when our world disintegrates around us?
Years ago things went wrong in my life at a crucial time. A normal family life one moment turned into a disaster the next. One day I was a valued professional in a company and the next day eliminated along with several others. Though given compensation, my future and that of my family seem to float away like a balloon to unimaginable heights. The bi-monthly paychecks that made life possible vanished into thin air.
I not only lost my job but potentially the new house under construction. Worse yet, two of my three children were in college and the third was preparing to go. The looming consequences from this unexpected life event were overwhelming because the job opportunities were few and far between. There were no words to comfort my wife, no answers to explain why, and little hope to comfort the soul.
Had my hour of testing come? Would God be involved? Though He knew the end from the beginning, I didn't. I had sincere doubts about the future until I remembered Paul writing, "...all things work together for good to them who love God and called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). But, the words of Paul were not reassuring...they sounded distant. I wasn't sure the verse could be trusted. How would God transform bad into good after allowing good to become bad?
One summer day, several months later, I was standing outside and looked up. The sky was blue with high cirrus clouds. Whenever you see cirrus clouds you know it's going to be a good day. But on this day it was especially nice. A Bible verse memorized years earlier came to mind. It was from the book of Job: "...though You may slay me yet will I trust You..." (Job 13:15).
After repeating the prayer with genuineness of heart, a peace came over my soul I had known only once before. It was as though a heavy weight lifted. The problems were still real, but faded away in the light of this boundless truth. Other treasured verses of encouragement include Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 16:8, and John 14:27.
Please recognize that reciting Job 13:15 is not a magic bullet for changing the status quo of one's life. God is the author and finisher of everyone's faith and works differently in each believer (Hebrews 12:2). He was at work in my life weaning me away from the world to full dependence in Him.
Now with a new resolve and hope, my eyes focused once again on Christ who is able to make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). Of course, this does not mean let go and let God. We still have skin in the game. The Bible does not teach to sit back and do nothing. We are to have faith. This is our work (John 6:29). This is what we do. This is what we can do.
The time came to place my faith once again in His promise to work all things together for good (1 Timothy 6:12). When I did, the heavy burdens of worry and fear lifted. I then knew another aspect to the meaning of Jesus' words, "Come unto me...and ye shall find rest to your souls (Matthew 11:28-29).
Within a week or two after reciting Job 13:15, I had a new job. We didn't lose our new home and never missed a financial obligation. Best of all, our three children graduated from college on schedule. Though this event was a trying time for all, it was a special time laced with remarkable happenings. God was involved from beginning to end doing the miraculous.
In closing on this true story, if there is an encouraging word in this article it would be this: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5-6). He truly does care for you! He is the Yahweh Jireh, the God that provides all things including blessing of rest when we trust in Him.
About trust, Mandy Hale summarizes this article perfectly by writing, "The more you go with the flow of life and surrender the outcome to God, and the less you seek constant clarity, the more you will find that fabulous things start to show up in your life." (Source) Shalom!
Image Credit: Unsplash; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | God-Father | Hardships | Personal-Life
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