By Carol Round –
“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”— Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV).
A conversation with my best friend is always encouraging. She says the same thing about our spiritual discussions. Lately, those discussions have been by phone and text messages.
For more than six months, Clarice has been helping to take care of one of her brothers. He is battling pancreatic cancer. Although she’s had help from her other siblings, most of the caretaking has fallen on her shoulders.
Worn out from taking him to doctor’s appointments and tending to his needs has taken a toll on her. She is weary. Watching her brother suffer from the side effects of the chemo treatments has been difficult. Times of rest for her soul come while her brother is sleeping.
Why Are We So Weary?
Even if we’re not tending to the needs of a sick loved one, many of us are weary. Burned-out. Dragging our feet. Seeking rest for our souls.
In our troubled world today, we struggle to put our lives in the hands of God. Some of us believe we must do everything on our own. Like me, some of us struggle with allowing others to take some of our burdens.
Burdened by the need to prove ourselves capable, we often wear a badge of independence like it’s a sign of success. However, if you study the life of Jesus, you know He needed the help of His disciples during His three-year ministry. Even more importantly, He needed rest for His weary soul. When He did, Jesus sought out solitude and His Father.
Even Jesus Needed Rest
Jesus was on a mission from God—to seek to reconcile mankind back to Himself again. We read in the Gospels of the miles He walked, the miracles He performed, and the hours He spent teaching the Way to His followers. Though He was inundated by people with urgent needs, Jesus was never in a hurry.
Jesus was often surrounded by crowds, taunted by the religious establishment, and disappointed by His own disciples. Could He ever get a break?
Jesus knew He needed the strength and encouragement He received from time spent alone with His Heavenly Father. He needed rest for His weary soul.
How Much More Do We Need Rest?
If the Son of God needed rest, how much more do we need it? Jesus rose early to spend time alone with His Father. It wasn’t just physical rest He needed, it was spiritual refreshment. Jesus needed this time with God to fulfill His mission.
If we are to accomplish what God has called us to do, we must depend on God’s strength. Philippians 4:13 is a reminder. “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
Pastor Chuck Swindoll once said, “In place of our exhaustion and spiritual fatigue, God will give us rest. All He asks is that we come to Him…that we spend a while thinking about Him, meditating on Him, talking to Him, listening in silence, occupying ourselves with Him—totally and thoroughly lost in the hiding place of His presence.” It’s in His presence that we find rest for our weary souls.