QUESTIONS? I think I’ve hit most or all of your questions. If I missed one or if you have another, let me know. In the meantime …
Jesus said, “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 11:29
The word that grabs me in today’s verse is rest.
One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is the verse just before today’s verse. Here Jesus talks about rest too, saying, “Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
I often recommend this “come to me” passage for funerals, especially after a friend has had a long, hard journey. Imagine a loved one who’s battled long and hard with cancer. Often we come to a place where death is a welcome release – a sad, but holy, final victory. The weary burdens are over, and God has finally given this friend rest.
This passage is a message of comfort and hope for the one who is now departed. Why? Because it speaks of a new reality for this loved one who is now finding rest in the arms of her Savior.
It can also be a powerful message of comfort and hope for the family members who are experiencing a whelming loss. In the current torrents of grief, they usually aren’t experiencing rest quite yet. But in Jesus’ invitation to “come to me,” there is a living hope for the rest that will come for their weary souls. Hope promises an eventual rest … even in this life, as we learn to hand our loved ones over to God for their eternal rest.
So … what do you need rest from in your life?
I literally just left our Tuesday night prayer class with Pastor Bill Fleming. The topic tonight was preparing to pray. It was learning to still our hearts and minds so that God – through that still small voice – could begin to speak rest into our weary hearts. (Have you ever desired that peace and rest?)
Pastor Bill used an image that grabbed me. He said, “Imagine that you’re driving a big truck. It can’t just stop instantaneously. You have to allow an adequate distance to brake.” I loved that … but then he said something I thought was profound. He said, “And the heavier the load, the greater distance you need to slow down.”
Part of prayer – and part of finding rest – is giving ourselves first an adequate time, space, and distance to slow down. To breathe out the grief and to breathe in the hope.
Are you breathing? Are you resting? Are you trusting? Are you hoping?
One way to do this is revealed in today’s verse. Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you.” When farmers historically trained a new, young ox, they’d usually yoke them to old, experienced ox. The young ox would buck and rush and try to pull away. The old ox would slow the youngster down. The old ox would teach him a slow, steady, long-lasting pace. The old ox would teach him to yield to the hand of the master.
Jesus wants to walk beside you, showing you a long-lasting pace, teaching you to yield to the hand of the master. Come to him, and he will teach you rest.
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s been carrying
a heavier load lately;
I guess I need to allow
for some time and distance
to slow down