Where, oh, where, can I find rest?
Updated: Oct 20, 2020
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
I just need to go to sleep earlier, I thought. I’m exhausted, which is ironic because I just returned from vacation. I had come back from a three-night hotel stay with a king-sized bed and jacuzzi, more tired than I was before I left.
When I returned home weariness promoted itself to stress eating, my greatest adversary. I ate four veggie pancakes, six rice cakes, and one small plate of seaweed salad. I attempted to work, but each time I sat at my computer focus ran away from me like a naked baby running from bath time. The next day was the same cycle. Just get through work, and I’ll rest. Finish work; check. Pray, then rest. Pray; check. Where’s the rest?! No matter how many tasks I completed or how much I ate, rest didn’t come!
In Matthew 11, Jesus invites all those who are weary and burdened to come to him and he will provide rest. He says, “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” (v. 29). Jesus invites those who are weary to come to, follow and learn from him. He describes himself as compassionate and considerate; he understands each person’s circumstances and will show empathy (Hebrews 2:17). As we encounter him personally, he promises we will find rest for our souls.
On vacation and right after, I treated prayer like a chore, a task on the list. Once I got through that task, I thought, then I could find rest. I didn’t know that rest was found in Jesus.
So last night, I prayed. I explained how I felt and what I had experienced. When I didn’t have words I sat in the quiet, hoping God still heard my heart. I laid all my burdens, deadlines, expectations, and failures at His feet. The next day, I no longer carried the guilt and shames from yesterdays. I had rest. I went on to complete my work with ease and no longer sought food to comfort me.
Jesus knows our hearts, thoughts, and circumstances. He invites us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened and He promises to give rest. The rest Jesus provides isn’t a vacation at a hotel, bath in jacuzzi tub, or all you can eat buffet. It doesn’t make all the assignments go away or remove the deadlines. Rather it is a rest for our soul.
When my focus is on the situation, I will always be running, rushing, or chasing after a task or doing work that never ends. And I will never find rest. When my focus is on Jesus there is rest, peace to do the work and do it well.