It’s mid-May and I’m sitting in front of the last fire until September, or more likely October. I’m taking full advantage of this rare opportunity. The temperatures dropped unseasonably low this week, and today, a cold rain settled in. I don’t know that it’s ever been this cool here this time of year. Weeks ago, I cleared out the last ashes from winter’s fires, and deep cleaned the hearth and firebox. But today, I gladly messed it all up again. I filled the firebox and lit the logs. And I’m pausing to enjoy.
In this moment, I thank the Father for the rain I hear hitting the roof, as well as thank Him that a roof shelters us from the rain—I’m well aware that many don’t have that protection. I thank Him for the beauty and warmth of the fire, for the cozy comfort that it brought into the room. I thank Him that I can sit and rest for a bit, that the work for the day is complete and now is time for rest, reflection, and thanksgiving.
Yes, I’m resting—what a kind gift from the Father. And now I’ve picked up the laptop to place my thoughts here, because I don’t consider this typing as “work.” Writing, for me, isn’t a labor for income, or a bothersome job on the to-do list, but it is a luxury these days. Writing is a relaxing form of expression and way for me to process. And, when I choose to post some of it here, I’m also hopeful that it is a small way for me to serve you gracious readers by sharing lessons God is teaching me. So, that is another reason to offer thanks right now—thanks for having the unusual opportunity of uninterrupted writing time.
As the world is grappling to recover from the global pandemic, and our nation struggles with fears and pressures —beyond what this generation has ever encountered—it is important to find moments to rest. While the world is reeling with anxiety, and many are being hit with frightening realities and losses—there comes a clear and simple invitation to rest:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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—30)
Do you ever read that passage with a bit of a cynical attitude? Maybe you’re even tempted to doubt this could happen. Ever feel like saying: “Yeah, ‘easy and light’ . . . right . . .”?
I’ve struggled thinking, “I’m trying to find rest in You, I’m trying to experience that easy yoke, but this is really hard right now!”
There are nights that are filled with horrifying fears and crushing disappointment. There have been many times, throughout my life, where I desperately wanted to find that place of “rest” that this passage describes, but I couldn’t. When my world is rocked and I’m shaken to the core, worry is the easiest default position.
I’ve still got much to learn, but I want you to know—that place of rest is real and waiting for us—even in the midst of the craziness of a global pandemic, loss of income, and unrelenting pain.
Jesus’ promise to us is really true. There is a sweet place of security in His yoke. And, when I respond to His invitation, rest happens.
The key to finding that rest is what Jesus said just after He invited us to climb into the yoke with Him: “Learn from Me . . .” If I will allow Him to lead me and teach me, I will learn how to have peace while walking through crisis. I must learn from Him.
The way to soul-rest is to remind myself of God’s character, of His “big picture” and then follow His instructions.
When I remind myself of God’s faithfulness, who He has revealed Himself to be throughout history, and personally in my own life in the past—it settles my heart in truth. My fears may be different from yours, but I think in some sense we all fear making wrong choices, missing God’s will, and fear the pain that comes from conflict with others. And then there is the awareness that the evil one seeks to devour us or our loved ones. He’s always trying to inflict fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear from the “what ifs.”
Today, most of the world is living in fear, aware that we are facing unknown futures as never before. May we, as believers, hold out the invitation that Christ offers—peace that is beyond explanation, and an assurance for the future that only He can provide. You don’t need a glowing fire to find that rest, or a brilliant sunset (although those things provide a great atmosphere for rest), but wherever you are, recount in your heart and mind all you know about your Sovereign Lord and rest will begin to settle your soul. Thank Him for those attributes and for the rest He delights to give.
I hope you’ll find some moments today to climb into that yoke with Jesus, to lay down the weary and heavy-laden thoughts that rob you of peace, and receive the comfort and rest He will bring.
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash