One of the reasons we pray is to put ourselves in a place where our Father can refresh us. He cares about every struggle we’re facing, so let's turn to Him to find the rest we need.
Been bounced around like a BB in a boxcar? A surprise tax bill. A friend says you make him feel like an “object.” A neighbor announces a surprise decision that affects your property without so much as a "heads up." A leader you've trusted says some things you’d have thought were out of character… but they weren't. Oh, and your doctor visit didn't go quite like the last one and you've got issues you thought were gone.
Driven to your knees, you say “Lord, this was a tough week.” You pause and you "hear" God, in His soundless but familiar voice, say “I love you.” You smile, recognizing His voice and His 'smile.' The next thought?
"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
He’s inviting me in. He has what I need, even if it’s not what I want. I want things to change. I want those things to have not happened. I want to feel good. Feel like a winner. Have no worries. To be free.
But what I need is rest.
He’s telling me to come to Him. I have to initiate. He’s not saying ‘come to bed,’ ‘come to counseling,’ ‘come for a walk,’ ‘come for a massage,’ ‘come and have a drink.’ He’s saying “Come to Me.” If I will, He promises ‘rest for my soul.’
We don’t talk about souls much. My soul is who I am. It’s me in total, the unique ‘me.’ The spirit ‘me.’ The one of a kind ‘me’ God created and experienced me to be at this point in my life. My soul is my personality. It’s the ‘me’ that will be in heaven.
God has this desire to give me rest. Like a dad waiting at the finish line for his exhausted marathon-running son, God wants me to collapse into His arms and let Him hold me. Still and close. Personal and real. Spiritually and mentally. Physically, He’d probably meet you in that comfortable chair in your house. You know the one... if you’ll just take time to sit in it.
‘Rest’ is a funny word too. We apologize for using it, like we’re somehow ‘less than’ if we say, “Hey, I want to rest.” It’s like “What’s wrong with you?” Nobody wants to rest. We only rest when we need to, right? We rest when we give out.
God’s rest is different. There’s safety here. He not only takes you in, He takes you over. Your worries are put on hold while your awareness of His presence warms every part of you. It’s like being welcomed into a really warm house after walking a long time outside in freezing weather. For a few minutes, there’s a warming of every part of you…body, mind and spirit. Your soul.
“I will give you rest for your souls.” God’s rest is a gift. He chooses it personally and individually for each of us and for each situation. We won’t know what His specific ‘rest gift’ is until we ‘come to Him.’ It might be sleep. It might be a squeeze on the shoulder from your wife. It might be an “I’m sorry” from a neighbor.
But you can rest assured that, if you’ll ‘come to Him,’ your rest is assured. He promised.
Question: When was the last time you chose to go to the Father to get ‘rest for your soul'?