See how we can find rest for our souls when our minds are exhausted.
Are you weary?
I’m not sure why I like the word weary so much. Maybe it’s the fact that it condenses so many emotions into one catch-all word. It often expresses how I feel when I’m struggling and can’t quite put my finger on it.
Weariness is familiar to all of us primarily because we live in a fallen world and we face the symptoms of this reality on a daily basis. At times, our struggles uncomfortably linger. We long for resolution in a situation, and when it is delayed, the tired-worried-frustrated feeling rolls in like a dark cloud.
When we go through weary seasons, we may respond one of two ways:
1) we are tempted to fall apart, or 2) we try to hold it all together.
Is there possibly an alternative?
Recently, I’ve been meditating on Matthew 11:28-30:
“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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Every time I read these verses, instantly it feels like a warm blanket wrapped around my shoulders. I begin to breathe easier. I feel lighter. Simultaneously, I perceive in my spirit a conviction, “Why do I forget these words from Jesus?”
Jesus meets us in our weariness and these verses highlight three invitations He offers and one glorious promise. Let’s take a look at each one:
It would be easy to run right past this first word, but it is loaded with importance if we take the time to meditate on it. Isn’t the fact that we forget to come the very reason we feel weary? This simple reminder is what we need day after day. He simply asks us to come.
I love that this invitation has no conditions or pre-requisites. Jesus doesn’t ask us to clean up our act or get ourselves together before coming.
- He invites us to come when we are in the thick of a mess we’ve made.
- He invites us to come when we have been distracted and we haven’t made Him a priority.
- He even invites us to come when we haven’t in a really long time.
For some of us, this is a call to come back. And for others it may be realizing for the first time that salvation is found in Him alone.
Regardless of where we are, Jesus simply tells us, come.
The second invitation Jesus offers is to take his yoke. We don’t often speak about yokes in our culture, but this reference would have been relevant to the original audience living in an agrarian culture. A yoke is simply an apparatus that joins two things together to lighten a load or make a task easier to accomplish. Oxen were often joined together with a yoke to make it easier for them to plow a field.
Jesus is telling the original audience and us today, “Stop trying to do things on your own or joining up with other things thinking this will lighten your load. Leave that way of doing things behind and join me. Connect with Me. You weren’t meant to carry the load by yourself. Stay closely by my side and let me carry your load and guide your steps.”
Our pride and self-sufficiency often keep us from realizing the truth of our deep need. When we join Jesus, we give Him authority and we submit to His plan. We find His yoke is “easy and light” because it’s the right yoke. By partnering with Him and allowing Him to lead us, we find true freedom and peace.
Jesus then tells us to learn from Him. How do we learn from Jesus? The best way to learn from Him is to read and study His character and promises in the Bible. There is no shortcut here. Without continual reading and meditating on God’s Word, we will not know the Jesus in a personal way. The Lord is so faithful to reveal Himself to us and encourage our weary hearts as we read His Word. This exercise over time becomes a joy instead of a task.
Spiritually dry times can come to be sure, but the joys of knowing and walking with Jesus will inevitably overwhelm those fickle feelings.
So, what is promised as we come, take and learn?
REST. Rest for your souls. How does that sound?
This is not the kind of rest you experience after a massage or a nice vacation. That rest is enjoyable but it is fleeting. The rest Jesus offers is always available and it is lasting and satisfying. When we join with Christ and tether ourselves to His character and promises, we find peace that can be found in no other place.
As we anchor ourselves to the firm foundation of Christ, we can remain in a steady place regardless of our circumstances. The storms of life will come. We will get knocked around by the waves, but if we stand close by our Good Shepherd, He will lead us beside quiet waters and in paths of righteousness for His name sake (Ps. 23).
If you are feeling weary today, you are not alone. Read these verses again and come, take and learn and then watch the rest you crave flood into your heart.
Courtney Garrett is an author, Bible teacher and the founder of 101 Christianity, a ministry that creates tools to equip people in every stage of faith to both know the truth and share the truth. She is the author of 101: Exploring the Basics of the Christian Faith and 101: Discovering the Character of God. She holds a master’s degree in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary and served as the Director of Women’s Discipleship at her home church, Grace Bible Church, in Houston, Texas for several years. She is married to John and loves being the mother of two boys, Jack and Camp. For more information see 101christianity.com.