"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Do you, like me, sometimes forget that this is what Christ offers? Have you forgotten that He longs to give you rest? He has the kind of rest that floods us with peace. Rest that makes us feel as though we have slept well. I know I need to be reminded of this. I forget that God has not called me to minister and work until I'm weary. No, he wants me to rest. To feel restful. To feel peaceful. He offers me rest. But what does that really mean?
Not so long ago, I was conversing with God - mostly a one way conversation. I kept saying, "Oh Lord, what should I do? What do you want me to do? I have all these projects and yet, I wonder where to put my energy, my priorities? What should I do, Lord?" And over and over I felt this strong impression to read Psalm 46:10. So, I did. And what did I find? "Be still and know that I am God."
Uh...God. That's not what I was asking. I need to know what to do. Yet again, I felt that Still Small Voice speak to my heart "Be still." What? What does that mean? Be still! I have to work, I have to write. I have to homeschool, cook, clean, drive hither and thither. I have to go, go, go, go. I don't have a choice! There ain't no rest for me. (Said with a twang)
Okay. Well, since I'm obviously not very wise when it comes to receiving spiritual advice, even if it's from the Almighty Himself. I picked up my handy dandy Hebrew Lexicon. There were many synonyms for Rapah, the Hebrew word "still," such as to relax, be idle, slack, lazy; yet one stood out to me: to be weak.
Be weak and know that I am God.
Yes. That makes perfect sense. For when I am weak, He is strong. I need to cease from my work, and let Him work. I need to quit fussing and fretting and striving, and allow Him to work it all out. I need to believe that He will. God doesn't need me to figure it all out. He doesn't need my help. If I will just relax and rest in Him, oh! the peace.
Jesus offers us rest. What does this rest that Jesus offers look like? Well, the handy dandy Lexicon says the actual Greek word, anapauo, that Jesus used means this:
1. to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength
2. to give rest, refresh, to give one's self rest, take rest
3. to keep quiet
4. calm and patient expectation
Wow. That's what Jesus offers us. But how do we receive it? I think the answer lies with being still. Being weak. Going to God and giving all our stuff to Him. Everything. All our fears. All our worries. All the troubling thoughts. All our duties. Our accomplishments. Our hopes and dreams. Our needs. Our expectations. Our desires for our children. Our husband. Everything.
Lay it before Him and be weak. We just can't do this thing called life very well on our own. Only God can. And He'll do it perfectly. We must give Him permission to remove those things that are not of Him, so that those things that are will bear the beautiful fruit He has planned for it.
Let's go to Jesus, for He has compassion. He knows when we are weary. He knows when we are burdened. He bids us to come. Come just as we are. Full of yucky stuff, full of unrepented sin ~He's forgiving, full of self determination, full of fears of not being good enough, not measuring up, full of successes and failures. Come to him. He will give us rest. Rest for our souls.